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NATIONAL TRAGEDY: An Open Letter to the U.S. Lodging Industry by AH&MA

On September 11, 2001, our lives were immeasurably altered by the vicious terrorist acts committed in New York City, our nation's capital…

On September 11, 2001, our lives were immeasurably altered by the vicious terrorist acts committed in New York City, our nation's capital, and Pennsylvania. In the wake of these tragedies, we find ourselves piecing back together our lives as both private and corporate citizens.

As your new President and CEO, I am committed to leading our industry through this crisis with every available resource. As you can imagine, we have been deluged with media inquiries about the potential economic effects of these acts on the lodging industry. We have answered that in the short term there will be an impact, but are hopeful that the American people's fundamental freedoms, including travel, will be restored, and as the holidays approach, business will rebound.

As you all individually attempt to assess the bottomline effect of these atrocities, keep in mind that PKF, in a written statement said "it is too soon to predict the impact Tuesday's [September 11] terrorist attacks will have on the U.S. lodging industry," and that "it would be irresponsible for anyone to try to quantify the effect of these tragic events on the performance of the U.S. hotel industry."

As your collective public voice, we have written letters expressing sympathy and offering assistance to all government and corporate officials affected by these events. Additionally, we are in touch with our friends at the Travel Industry Association of America (TIA) who are finalizing a comprehensive plan of action for the economic recovery of travel and tourism in this country. We believe it is important for travel and tourism to speak with a unified voice and urge you to be patient as respective leaders from our partners in the airline, rental car, attractions, and cruise industries, among others, work together in the coming months to restore not only business prosperity, but the faith and confidence of travelers worldwide.

On the Capitol Hill front, in reaction to last week's events, the U.S. House of Representatives considered a resolution to provide a $2.5 billion cash payment and $12.5 billion in loan guarantees to the nations' airline industry. This legislative proposal was presented to the entire House in a rare Saturday session on September 15 as a unanimous consent resolution. Under the Rules of the House, if just one member of the House objects to the form of such procedure, the resolution will be taken down. That was the case on Saturday and the resolution failed. It may be brought up later this week following the Rosh Hashanah recess.

The airline industry has represented to the Congress that it has lost $1 billion since Tuesday's events, may have to lay off as many as 100,000 workers as flights are reduced, and, according to industry analysts, many face possible bankruptcy.

The procedural hurdles faced by the airline industry to achieve its requested federal funding levels are daunting and fluid. Not only must the respective committees of jurisdiction in both the House and Senate authorize such sums, but also the proper appropriations committees must approve these expenditures. Given the volatility in airline stocks since trading resumed today, the strategic national interest in the viability of airline companies and defense contractors (e.g., Boeing) which supply equipment, these aforementioned hurdles may be overcome.

We continue to closely monitor the situation, and have stated to Members of Congress that they must recognize, that airlines, though the most high-profile of the industries immediately affected by these barbarous acts, lodging will also be negatively affected in the immediate future. No further votes on this measure will take place before Thursday, September 20.

Finally, it is critically important that we all remain committed to supporting the upcoming November International Hotel/Motel & Restaurant show. The best way to be positive is to "lead by example" and show our industry brothers and sisters, as well as the city of New York, that the hospitality industry has faith in America's future.

Again, as an industry and as a people, we will survive this assault on our country's very foundation – freedom. Thank you and God bless America.

Joseph McInerney

President & CEO

American Hotel & Lodging Association

Theodore Koumelis
Co-Founder & Managing Director - Travel Media Applications | Website

Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.