St. Petersburg-area Hotel Owners Welcome Rep. Charlie Crist


PINELLAS PARK, Fla. – Several St. Petersburg-area hotel owners welcomed U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist (D, St. Petersburg) to a behind-the-scenes tour of the Comfort Inn and Suites in Pinellas Park today. The event was organized by the Asian American Hotel Owners Association, a nationwide trade group that has more than 800 members in Florida.

Crist took part in a tour designed to give him a glimpse at what it takes to run a busy and successful hotel, from turning over a room to doing laundry to managing guest reservations. Ravi Patel, an AAHOA member and owner of the property, led the tour of the property.

“We were honored to have Congressman Crist at our property today,” said Patel. “We are thankful to have the chance to show him firsthand what it takes to run a successful hotel, from ensuring that every guest has a great stay to managing the staff and all of the tasks that need to be completed. We are especially thankful for the work he has done to help our area recover from the hurricane damage.”

“Pinellas County’s natural beauty is why so many folks flock here, making tourism a major economic driver. Our hotels support these visitors, employ our neighbors, and contribute greatly to the local economy,” said Crist. “I appreciate the opportunity to have a behind-the-scenes look at how area hotels operate, and to discuss ways we can work together to keep the hotel industry, tourism, and our economy strong.”

After the tour, Crist sat down with more than a dozen hotel owners from the area to discuss his legislative priorities and challenges facing the hotel industry.

AAHOA President and CEO Chip Rogers commented, “We thank Congressman Crist for taking the time to meet with hoteliers today. He’s a champion for small businesses and the jobs they create in the community, and after today he’ll leave with even more firsthand information about what it takes for a small business to be successful.”

Crist represents Florida’s 13th Congressional District. He serves on the House Financial Services Committee and the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee. Prior to being elected to Congress in 2016, Crist served as the 44th Governor of Florida, Florida Attorney General, Florida Education Commissioner, and served two terms in the Florida State Senate.

AAHOA is the largest hotel owners association in the world. The more than 16,000 AAHOA members own almost one in every two hotels in the United States. With billions of dollars in property assets and hundreds of thousands of employees, AAHOA members are core economic contributors in virtually every community in the United States. As an association, AAHOA is a proud defender of free enterprise and the foremost current-day example of realizing the American Dream.

For more information, contact: Brandon VerVelde, 920-207-1899,


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