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During the opening session of the American Lodging Investment Summit (ALIS), industry leaders expressed both optimism and apprehension going forward as the travel industry takes the first major steps in its recovery following the coronavirus pandemic.
The annual event drew approximately 1,800 attendees, making it one of the largest face-to-face travel conferences to take place following the pandemic-and the excitement was palpable.
"The U.S. economy was roaring [prior to the pandemic]," said economist and author Todd Buchholz during one of the first presentations. "Now, it's trying to get that roar back."
Buchholz noted that this recovery is different from the last one, referring to the current economic situation as a "cessation" rather than a recession.
"In three months, we regained half of the jobs lost during the pandemic," he explained. "It took two years to get to the same place after the Great Recession [of 2008]."
While there was great optimism, the event also highlighted the uneven recovery. Just as travel industry leaders were gathering in person, indoors once again, Los Angeles reinstituted its mandatory mask policy for all indoor public areas. Attendees also discussed the federal government's ongoing international travel restrictions as well as the slow recovery for urban areas and business travel. However, those in attendance did not dwell on these minor setbacks.
"The industry is emerging from what I think we'd all agree is some of our darkest days, and I feel we are now at the tipping point toward recovery," Hilton president and CEO Chris Nassetta said.
Furthering the optimism, Jeff Higley, president of the Burba Hotel Network (which is owned by TravelPulse parent company Northstar Travel Group) announced that ALIS 2022 will return to its normal schedule and take place January 24-26, 2022, in Los Angeles.
Janeen Christoff caught the travel bug while living in London, England. After two years on the road, she settled in Los Angeles...
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