US: Following Joe Biden’s election as the next Democratic president of the United States, industry experts share their views on what this could mean for the hospitality and travel industries.
On Saturday 7 November, Biden was announced as the winner of the American presidential election having crossed the threshold of 270 Electoral College votes needed. He will become the president in January pending any legal challenges brought by the current Republican president, Donald Trump.
Here is what some industry leaders have said about Biden’s election.
Larry Korman, president, AKA:
“This past weekend we witnessed history with the news of our new president-elect Joe Biden, and vice president-elect Kamala Harris. There is a renewed sense of vim and vigor within our country, and under Biden’s leadership there will be an opportunity for hotels, extended stays and hospitality businesses with a domestic footprint to grow internationally under a more global-minded administration.
“I also believe with unity in the house and senate, programs that support the states, hospitality, restaurants and infrastructure will come to full fruition in the next year or so.”
Andrew Harrington, owner, AHV Associates:
“The US, which is still the biggest economy in the world, is the key driver to the recovery of travel and hospitality globally. The issue with the US is that there has been hitherto no coordinated national response to the virus. This has meant that, effectively, the US has had the worst of all worlds. In many parts of the country, the US is still going through the first wave and, with no coordinated national response, this means that even if it looks as if in some parts of the country the virus is under control, there is always the risk that it will return.
“The main effect of Biden will be therefore to implement a coordinated national policy to control the impact of Covid-19. Who knows what the state of the country will be when he takes office, and much of policy is determined by the states. But it is clear that there is a lot he can do now by using his influence as the president-elect to promote national action.
“With a nationally coordinated policy, the question now becomes what will the state of the US economy be post-Covid? Although the US government has been very responsive in its support for business during the crisis, some of the key measures expired in July and their replacement is bogged down in partisan arguments in congress. It looks unlikely that the Democrats will take control of the senate in January, in which case a new recovery package, if it passes, is not likely to be very generous.
“So, the effect of Biden winning the presidency is likely to be positive versus the current situation as it will hasten the end of Covid in the US, which will have substantial implications in travel and hospitality globally. But the divided congress will mean that the US economic recovery may not be as rapid as it otherwise would have been, thus potentially dampening the recovery of travel and hospitality in the US and around the world.”
Roger Dow, president and CEO, U.S. Travel Association:
“The American travel industry congratulates president-elect Joe Biden on his victory. We applaud president-elect Biden’s objective of helping the industries most heavily impacted by the pandemic. The travel industry accounts for more than a third of overall U.S. unemployment, and policies to promote relief, recovery, and stimulus for travel businesses are integral to a U.S. economic turnaround.
“We share the emphasis on combating the spread of COVID-19 expressed by the president-elect while building economic growth. The right combination of technologies and behaviours already exists to allow the restart of travel without compromising health and safety, and making rapid and reliable testing more widely available will be a key element of an even broader economic reopening.
“There is a dire need to protect and sustain jobs in every single congressional district, and enacting the policies to do that will require the political parties to come together. We stand ready to work closely with the Biden administration and both chambers of congress to achieve policy goals that revive our economy and bring our country together—a hallmark of the travel industry.”
Cecil Staton, president and CEO, Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA):
“On behalf of AAHOA’s 20,000 hotel owners, we offer our sincere congratulations to president-elect Joe Biden and vice president-elect Kamala Harris. We wish them success in their endeavours to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, reinvigorate travel, and get our economy back on track. We will work to ensure they honour their commitments to help small business owners, especially those hit hardest by the pandemic. America’s hotel owners look forward to working with the Biden administration and congressional leadership to help small businesses come out on the other side of this crisis.
“When the 116th congress returns for the lame duck session later this month, America’s hoteliers will continue to press them and the Trump administration to work together to pass a new economic stimulus to help the people and industries hit hardest by this pandemic, including hoteliers. America’s hotel owners also offer our thanks to president Trump. Under his leadership, we saw the elimination of numerous burdensome regulations and the most significant tax reform in three decades. We hope his presidency inspires more hoteliers to answer the call of public service and seek opportunities to lead in their communities.”
Tom Bené, president and CEO, The National Restaurant Association:
“The National Restaurant Association applauds the election of president-elect Joe Biden and we look forward to working with his administration and the new congress in 2021. The record-setting turnout of this election underscores that now, more than ever, Americans are depending on their elected officials to work together to pass legislation to support the nation’s recovery.
“So far, 100,000 restaurants of all types have closed across the country, and another 40 per cent are unlikely to make it through the winter without additional relief from the federal government. If just five per cent of restaurants close their doors between now and the end of the year, at least half a million jobs would be lost. We must all work together to build a plan that puts the country, and our businesses, on the path to recovery.
“In the coming days and weeks, there will be many discussions about long-term goals and priorities; however, the short-term needs of the restaurant and foodservice industry—the nation’s second-largest, private sector employer—cannot be overlooked. We ask congress to support proposals that include immediate relief for restaurants and small businesses across the country. Without this assistance, thousands of restaurants will close before a long-term solution can even be considered. We urge congress and the Trump administration to return to work quickly and help get the nation on a path towards recovery.”