ATLANTA, Ga., July 21 – The Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA), offered input about how transportation infrastructure can create a solid foundation for promoting and sustaining long-distance travel and tourism, in response to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Request for Comment on the National Travel and Tourism Infrastructure Strategic Plan (NTTISP).
The DOT solicited comments to aid it in updating its Strategic Plan, which was developed in response to a mandate in the 2015 Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act) that it assess the condition and performance of the national transportation network, identify issues that create congestion and barriers to travel and tourism, and develop strategies for improving vital travel infrastructure.
As a strategic voice in the travel and tourism industry, AAHOA encouraged the DOT to prioritize policies that invest in infrastructure expansions, including road networks, airports and hotels; stimulate demand and consumer confidence; improve infrastructure digital and intermodal connectivity to address chokepoints; support sustainable transportation options and practices; facilitate financing and incentives for industry stakeholders; and foster relationships and coordination.
“By implementing these policy recommendations, the DOT and other agencies can support the travel and tourism industry’s recovery by leveraging infrastructure investments in and through hotels. These measures can enhance traveler confidence, improve connectivity, promote sustainability, provide financial support, and foster collaboration among stakeholders, ultimately driving the industry’s resurgence after the COVID-19 pandemic,” AAHOA’s comment to the DOT states.
AAHOA Members own 60% of U.S. hotels, accounting for $368.4 billion in annual economic output, according to Oxford Economics – highlighting the importance of America’s travel infrastructure to the economy.
As explained in AAHOA’s comment, one key component of improving the performance of the national transportation network is eliminating the “hassle factor” for travelers, which pertains to the difficulties, inconveniences, or frustrations that travelers may experience during long-distance travel and tourism.
To eliminate the hassle factor for hotel stays, hotels are increasingly implementing measures to enhance the guest experience and streamline the process, such as seamless check-in and check-out, streamlined communications and service, and enhanced information and accessibility.
“On behalf of AAHOA’s nearly 20,000 Members, we urge the Department of Transportation to consider the value of partnerships with the hotel industry in its updates to the National Travel and Tourism Infrastructure Strategic Plan,” said AAHOA President & CEO Laura Lee Blake. “We thank the Department of Transportation for providing this opportunity to ensure all stakeholders in our nation’s national transportation network have a voice in this important conversation to encourage greater travel and tourism.”
“Hotels and transportation infrastructure play crucial roles in supporting long-distance travel and tourism, which should be defined as 50 miles or more from home to the destination. By capitalizing on these opportunities for partnerships, hotels and transportation infrastructure can jointly support travel and tourism effectively,” said AAHOA Chairman Bharat Patel. “AAHOA Members are ready to support the Department of Transportation in its critical work to improve vital travel infrastructure.”