A rhetoric and divisive policies by President Donald Trump are driving away business travelers from the United States and pushing them into Canada, the Marriott CEO said on Wednesday.
Large groups of travelers, particularly for conferences, are changing reservations to friendlier cities such as Toronto instead of options in the US “with the idea that bringing an international group to Canada would be easier and maybe a little more risky in the US, “Chief Executive Arne Sorenson said in an interview in Toronto.
The growth of what is known as “RevPAR” in English, a measure of financial performance based on income per available room, will be between 5% and 9% in Canada this year, compared to 1% or 2% in EE.US said, Sorenson. The growth of revolving alone does not indicate whether travelers are changing their destination.
“At this time, there is a perception throughout the world that the US It is a little less welcoming than it was in the past, “said the executive.
Sorenson cited Trump’s efforts to ban travelers from some Muslim-majority countries and speeches that emphasize nationalism and criticize current immigration policy. In Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has publicly defended Muslims and extolled immigration.
Marriott is addressing the issue in talks with the White House on “welcoming visitors from abroad,” said Sorenson, who declined to provide details.
Canada’s economy is booming, expanding faster than any Group of Seven nation and forecast to grow at an average of 2% per year over the next five years. In the US, the Gross Domestic Product grew 1.5% last year, although it is forecast to rise 2.4% next year, according to a survey of economists conducted by media. In general, Marriott’s occupancy in both countries is more than 80%.
Sorenson was vice president of the Export Council of President Barack Obama and joined the delegation that visited Cuba in March 2016, part of an approach that Trump has criticized. Sorenson wrote an open letter to Trump on LinkedIn shortly after his election, in which he emphasized the need to unite the country and “break the pay cycle.”
Corporate guests accounted for around 70% of Marriott’s room nights in 2016, and leisure accounted for around 30% according to the company.
The company, based in Bethesda, Maryland, is opening a St. Regis brand hotel in the financial district of Toronto, replacing the Trump brand in the 65-story luxury tower.