Marriott CEO Says Trade War With China Could Hurt Travel to U.S.

(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump’s trade war with China could hurt tourism from that country to the U.S., and Chinese travelers are already starting to favor other destinations, such as Europe, according to Marriott International Inc. Chief Executive Officer Arne Sorenson.

The trade battle has had “little” impact on Marriott’s business so far, Sorenson said in an interview on Bloomberg Television Friday. Chinese outbound travel was up about 6 percent last year from the year before, with roughly 135 million trips across national borders, he said, and places like Europe are now capturing a larger share of that market compared with the U.S.

A little over two weeks ago, Sorenson met with Trump to talk about growing international travel to the U.S., and told the president that his rhetoric on security and immigration can be heard as uninviting to global visitors.

“Travel is not really about immigration -- travel is about where people are taking vacations and where people are doing commerce,” Sorenson said. He urged Trump to think about a way to extend a welcome to the rest of the world while still pursuing his policies on security and immigration.

Trump seemed open to the comments and understood how his voice could be misinterpreted around the world, Sorenson said.

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