At the 44th annual NYU International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference, Jonathan Tisch, Chairman and CEO of Loews Hotels & Co asserted that travel is both an economic driver and an essential component of a healthy, functioning society in a post-pandemic world.
“Travel is essential to the way we work and live—because it has tremendous potential to connect us—to each other, to ideas, and opportunity,” said Tisch. “It brings people together, broadens perspectives, and spurs innovation and progress.”
At a time when people and organizations are scrutinizing their budgets, Tisch emphasized that the hospitality sector must demonstrate that tourism has value beyond economics. Tisch began by describing travel’s power to bring people together. He outlined the issues that society faces in the aftermath of the pandemic, including divisiveness and loneliness, and portrayed travel as an antidote to isolation.
“At a time of division, polarization, and fear, we must remind decision-makers that travel is not a diversion from society’s most important problems—it is a solution to them,” he said.
Tisch went on to discuss how travel may help individuals connect with ideas. He advised CEOs to accept this emerging reality as business travel has yet to fully return and people may soon tire of their home offices.
According to Tisch, the distinctions between business, travel, and relaxation are permanently blurred. Workers who no longer have an office or a water cooler may locate one in Miami, Philadelphia, or Asheville… this creates a wonderful opportunity for us as an industry to reinvent our products and make them appealing to all types of business travelers.
Tisch then urged executives to focus on expanding chances for progression in the hospitality industry. As the sector suffers unprecedented labor shortages, he reminded everyone of the benefits hospitality industry can provide workers, such as inclusive environments, attractive remuneration packages, and professional development possibilities.
“There’s a reason we’re the first stop for many immigrants and others pursuing the American Dream,” said Tisch. “To climb the ranks, you don’t need to enter with hyper-specialized skills or credentials. You need a good attitude, a willingness to work hard, and a desire to make people feel welcome.”
Finally, Tisch issued a rallying appeal to travel industry executives to do their bit to make travel necessary. “We can start right now, right now,” he emphasized.