Tisch says infrastructure biggest challenge for U.S. travel industry

The U.S. travel industry must take on the challenge of improving the nation’s aging infrastructure and seize opportunities presented by a boom in global travel, according to Jonathan Tisch, chairman of Loews Hotels, who spoke at the 34th Annual NYU International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference on Monday.

“Let’s help find the solutions to an infrastructure problem that is too big and too complex for either government or industry to solve on their own,” Tisch said. “We’re deluding ourselves if we think our industry can thrive if we don’t fix this problem.”

Tisch noted that more than 1 billion people will travel abroad this year, including a growing number of travelers from China and emerging economic powers like Brazil. “We’re on the verge of the greatest boom market in our industry’s history,” Tisch said. “The critical question is: Will the U.S. be able to compete effectively for these travelers?”

According to Tisch, the biggest problem is the state of U.S. infrastructure, exhibited by congested runways and aging airport terminals and facilities. He urged private sector investors to partner with government to address the infrastructure challenge, citing promising success stories in Chicago, California and New York. 

“Many leaders in our industry have a strong entrepreneurial bent and deep experience leveraging private financing to complete complex projects,” Tisch noted. “Let’s make a commitment to apply some of that creative energy to a challenge that is critical to our industry’s and our country’s future.”