AAHOA leaders attend Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s state visit to cement U.S.-India ties
Earlier this summer, AAHOA leaders and members attended Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s state visit to Washington, D.C., to strengthen ties between the U.S. and India. AAHOA Chairman Bharat Patel, Vice Chairman Miraj Patel, Treasurer Kamalesh (KP) Patel, Secretary Rahul Patel, and Immediate Past Chair Nishant (Neal) Patel represented AAHOA’s 20,000 hotelier members as guests during the White House South Lawn welcome ceremony and Prime Minister Modi’s joint address to Congress.
“The hotel industry has long provided thousands of first- and second-generation immigrants from India an opportunity to achieve the American Dream of entrepreneurship,” said AAHOA Chairman Bharat Patel. “As the most populous country in the world and the crossroads of the Indo-Pacific region, India is a critical player on the world stage and an important U.S. ally. As members of an industry founded on hospitality and personal relationships, AAHOA leaders were honored to represent one of the most important industries to the Indian American community and our nation’s economy.”
THE TIES THAT BIND
AAHOA leaders used this historic visit to reiterate their commitment to strengthening the partnership between the two countries. They urged lawmakers to eliminate caps on the H-2B visa program, which would encourage more of India’s talent to come to the U.S. for career opportunities.
“As Prime Minister Modi said in his address to Congress, Indian Americans’ talents and skills have ‘shown the potential of our partnership.’ The U.S. and India need look no further than the hotel industry, where AAHOA Members own 60% of U.S. hotels and are responsible for 1.7% of the nation’s GDP,” said AAHOA President and CEO Laura Lee Blake. “We believe more people from India should also have the opportunity to come to the U.S. and achieve the American Dream. That’s why we urge lawmakers to eliminate caps on the H-2B visa program so there are no constraints on addressing employers’ needs for additional seasonal workers. A stronger U.S.-India partnership will open doors for increased collaboration and investment, which will benefit both countries and ultimately the global community.”
AAHOA represents 20,000 hoteliers of primarily Indian descent who want to see a new era of possibilities between the two countries.
What they’re saying about attending Prime Minister Modi’s state visit:
“It was an incredible honor to witness Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Joint Meeting of Congress in the House Chambers, as he delivered a visionary address emphasizing the importance of bridging nations, inspiring change, and creating a better future through innovation, sustainable development, and collective action,” said AAHOA Vice Chairman Miraj Patel.
“It was a mind-blowing experience. I was really touched that India and the U.S. got together in this way,” said Vibhuti Panchal, AAHOA Lifetime Member. “As hoteliers, a lot of our hospitality knowledge and roots come from India. We learned how to make our guests a priority in India and carried that same level of customer service to the U.S. Prime Minister Modi’s visit will enhance the collaborative efforts between both countries, ensuring future hoteliers who take over family-owned hotels thrive.”
“My wife and I were in the room for Prime Minister Modi’s joint address to Congress,” said GJ Zala, AAHOA Lifetime Member. “It was an unforgettable experience. Prime Minister Modi emphasized the importance for both countries to grow their relationship, and people on both sides of the aisle clapped nonstop throughout the speech. I see a lot of possibilities for hoteliers in India and encourage AAHOA to continue spearheading delegations to the world’s largest democracy.”
“It was an honor for me to be in attendance and let the Prime Minister know how thankful we are for everything he’s doing to continue to strengthen the partnership between the U.S. and India,” Sawan Patel, Past Southeast Texas Regional Director (2018-2021), said. “There were families representing three generations at this incredible event. It was special for me to see a lot of parents and kids together witnessing this moment.”