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Obama Meets with Travel CEOs Ahead of Baseball HOF Speech

Friday, May 23, 2014
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President Obama met today with leaders of America's travel industry for a discussion in the White House Roosevelt Room on activities to spur economic growth through travel and tourism.

The meeting was the president's second such gathering with travel leaders; in March 2009, President Obama convened a similar West Wing meeting.
Other Administration leaders involved in today's meeting were Senior Advisor to the President Valerie Jarrett, National Economic Council Director Jeff Zients, and Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas of the Department of Homeland Security.

The discussion with the President included both domestic and international travel community priorities, including the development of airport-specific action plans to improve international visitors' experience upon arrival; expansion of the Visa Waiver Program to nations such as Brazil and Poland; surface and aviation infrastructure needs; and provisions of the JOLT Act now pending before the House, specifically those related to immigration reform.

"The president recognizes that travel is a top performer on many of his economic priorities, like job creation and the U.S. trade balance," said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow. "He invited us in to ask us what we need to be able to do even better. Customs entry reform, Brand USA renewal, infrastructure improvements—we didn't hold anything back, and he listened intently to everything we had to say."

Renewal of Brand USA, the public-private partnership that markets the United States as a tourism destination and is nearing its statutory sunset date in 2015, was also discussed with the President.

Today's meeting coincides with the release of an Presidential Memorandum on travel and tourism for the heads of executive department and agencies as well as the President's related remarks in Cooperstown, N.Y. at the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.
In attendance at the White House meeting:

Jim Abrahamson
Chief Executive Officer
Interstate Hotels & Resorts Geoff Ballotti
Chief Executive Officer
Wyndham Hotel Group

John Caparella
President and Chief Operating Officer
The Venetian | The Palazzo Stephen Cloobeck
Founder and Chairman
Diamond Resorts International

Roger Dow
President and Chief Executive Officer
U.S. Travel Association Barney Harford
Chief Executive Officer
Orbitz Worldwide

Mark Hoplamazian
President and Chief Executive Officer
Hyatt Hotels Corporation Jeremy Jacobs, Jr.
Delaware North Companies

Stephen Joyce
President and Chief Executive Officer
Choice Hotels International Tom Klein
President and Chief Executive Officer

Christopher Nassetta
President and Chief Executive Officer
Hilton Worldwide Joseph Popolo, Jr.
Chief Executive Officer

Trudy Rautio
President and Chief Executive Officer
Carlson Sergio Rivera
President, The Americas
Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide

Arne Sorenson
President and Chief Executive Officer
Marriott International John Sprouls
Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer
Universal Parks and Resorts

Greg Stubblefield
Alamo Rent A Car and National Car Rental W. Edward Walter
President and Chief Executive Officer
Host Hotels & Resorts

Paul Whetsell President and Chief Executive Officer
Loews Hotels Anre Williams
President, Global Merchant Services
American Express Company

Cathy Keefe, (O) 202-408-2183, (C) 703-899-7031
Jamie Morris, (O) 202-218-3621, (C) 530-545-9274

The U.S. Travel Association is the national, non-profit organization representing all components of the travel industry that generates $2.1 trillion in economic output and supports 14.9 million jobs. U.S. Travel's mission is to increase travel to and within the United States.
Visit www.ustravel.org.

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