PHOTO: Marriott International president and CEO Arne Sorenson. (Screenshot via YouTube)
The travel industry is moving forward with cautious optimism in wake of Donald Trump having been elected the 45th President of the U.S.
While reactions to Trump's victory have been mixed, one industry leader has outlined the ways in which the President-elect can improve the state of U.S. travel en route to advancing the country as a whole.
In an open letter to Trump published Friday, Marriott International president and CEO Arne Sorenson encouraged the next Commander-In-Chief to disprove his critics and provided specific advice on how to make positive changes in the travel world.
"You know as well as I do the sorry state of our nation’s roads, bridges, highways and airports. You've rightly promised to do something about it. As head of a company that operates around the world and serves millions of travelers, I have seen and heard the complaints many times," wrote Sorenson. "Our woefully outdated and dilapidated infrastructure is putting our country at an economic disadvantage. These are all places where the government has traditionally acted and where the need for further investment is clear."
"The infrastructure jobs themselves – and the economic growth that better infrastructure will fuel – are needed given our anemic growth numbers."
READ MORE: How Will Trump Impact Travel and Tourism?
Sorenson also acknowledged the importance of securing borders and U.S. airports — an issue Trump referred to often during his campaign — but described building a literal wall as "unwise."
"Strengthening our borders, however, should not lead us to close America to travelers from around the world," wrote Sorenson. "The 75 million foreign visitors we welcome every year support in excess of two million jobs in the U.S. Those jobs cannot and will not be transferred off shore – unless, of course, we dissuade those travelers from coming to the U.S."
"We should keep the welcome mat out for foreign travelers," he argued, recommending the roll out of a "global trusted traveler program" where security resources can be focused on travelers who pose a risk to the U.S.
Sorenson also encouraged transparency when it comes to addressing immigration given its impact on the hospitality industry.
"We also need to adopt a transparent approach for future immigration, which is essential to so many industries – including hospitality," Sorenson wrote. "Our business depends on the vibrant exchange of ideas, the sharing of customs, the ability to travel and experience new things."
"We know the many tangible benefits of diversity and inclusion, because we live it every day in every one of our properties."
Having just recently completed its $13.6 billion merger with Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide to form the world's largest hotel company, it's clear that Marriott will have a lot at stake over the next four years.