The following is a statement from Katherine Lugar, president and CEO of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA), in response to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address:
“Tonight, President Trump laid out his agenda to seek continued job creation and economic growth. The hotel industry has been one of the key drivers of economic growth, supporting 8 million jobs and generating $1.1 trillion in annual economic activity. With three out of every five hotels considered a small business, the hotel industry is especially focused on policies that encourage business growth and empower our nation’s entrepreneurs. The President touted the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which AHLA supported and we believe will spark economic growth.
“Looking forward, we applaud the President’s commitment to further stimulating economic growth by investing in infrastructure. Our industry recognizes the importance of infrastructure enhancements to supporting travel and tourism. We look forward to learning more about the plan and working with the Administration and Congress to make this a reality.
“The hotel industry thrives because our employees are as global as our guests. We thank the President for his commitment to finding a much-needed solution to our nation’s immigration policy. We support a balanced approach to immigration reform that increases our border security while also meeting our workforce needs. There are several immigration programs that are vital to our industry, which has a large component of international workers. We urge Congress and the White House to find a workable solution to these programs. We also call on Congress and the White House to resolve the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Protecting Dreamers is common sense, compassionate and good economic policy. It’s time for Congress to act.
“As we look at our domestic economy and future job creation, the decline in international travel to the United States causes real concern. Travel and tourism is our country’s second largest export. Even though international travel is expanding around the globe, fewer people are choosing to come to the United States. The decline in international visitors to the U.S. has resulted in $32.2 billion in lost spending by those travelers, and 100,000 fewer American jobs. We urge the Administration to send a welcoming message to the world and adopt policies that promote international travel to the United States while maintaining our security. Doing so will help our country reach the President’s domestic economic goals.
“As President Trump begins his second year in the White House, we encourage him to work hand in hand with Congress on policies to bolster our economy, enact immigration reform, and invest in our national infrastructure. We look forward to working closely with the Administration and Congress toward advancing our common goals and building even stronger and more vibrant communities.”