Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg

politics

Marriott CEO Says U.S. Less Welcoming to Travelers Under Trump

International travelers curtailed trips to the U.S. last year, and President Donald Trump’s rhetoric is partly to blame, Marriott International Inc.’s chief executive officer said in a Bloomberg Television interview.

“Part of that is I think the sense that the U.S. is less welcoming today,” Arne Sorenson said Wednesday from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. “Words around immigration, or words around some of these other issues, can be interpreted in the rest of the world as words of welcome or relatively less welcome.”

Global travelers took 1.3 billion international trips last year, up 7 percent from 2016, while international trips to the U.S. decreased by about 4 percent, Sorenson said. Marriott operates in 126 countries and benefits from the rise in global travel, regardless of which countries travelers choose to visit, he said.

Immigration and security are important issues, Sorenson said, but it’s also important to communicate “welcome to the rest of the world, because we would like for them to come in and have vacations in the United States or do business in the United States, and there is a real global competition under way.”

Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. CEO Christopher Nassetta voiced similar concerns Tuesday in his own Bloomberg Television interview from Davos. He said the decline in international travel has cost the U.S. economy thousands of jobs.

— With assistance by Haslinda Amin

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