Marriott International chief executive officer Arne Sorenson has said immigration and travel need to be treated as two separate issues.
At a press briefing in Dubai, Sorenson said, “99% of travel has nothing to do with immigration”.
He clarified: “I say 99% as if that is a precise number, I don’t mean that obviously but overwhelmingly people are getting on a plane, or driving to travel to other countries. And there is no reason the United States or England [with the Brexit vote] can’t get after immigration policy whilst at the same time saying to the world, ‘you’re welcome to come’.”
Sorenson made the remark on the back of US President Donald Trump’s two executive orders “that touch travel”. While also claiming that Middle Eastern travellers are down 20% to the United States.
Speaking about the travel ban that President Trump issued on travellers from seven mostly Muslim countries, Sorenson said: “The travel bans are not good, period.
"It is still early and we are in anticipation that the travel bans are more likely to have a more profound impact on discretionary leisure travel than business travel.
“Having said that arrivals from all markets to the United States from around the world might be up in the first couple of months. It's early data, of course we only have a picture into our stays. It doesn’t look like the total picture at the moment is as bad as you might think,” he said.
Sorenson also feels that Preident Trump’s election to the White House will have positives for business in general. “There are potentially positives and negatives. On a positive side, he is likely to move towards business friendly, and therefore business enhancing growth. In tax policy, infrastructure spending and maybe the regulatory environment. And that is why the US market says we are potentially for a better growth.
“And obviously when the US market grows more robustly than in previous years, that tends to be good for many economies around the world because of the power of the US engine.”