President Bill Clinton on the Impact of Travel and Tourism

By Natalie Dupuis, August 22, 2016

Connect President Chris Collinson sat down with President Clinton at Connect Marketplace 2015 to ask him a few questions about his life, his years in the White House and his latest endeavors with the Clinton Global Initiative. While in front of the audience of meeting and hospitality officials, Clinton took a moment to talk about the role the travel and tourism industry plays in the economy.

He explained that the industry has been a priority for him since his days as governor of Arkansas and through his presidency, citing a White House conference he hosted dedicated to developing the industry. Clinton made three points about the industry, specifically on how world events can affect travel and tourism. “If you think about the big challenges of the world today, every single one of them, if not addressed, will impinge on the rate of growth of your industry,” Clinton said. Here are some of his other talking points for event profs.

  1. On wages: “If [wages are] not keeping up with [the] productivity and profitability growth of companies, you’ll have fewer travelers and they’ll spend less along the way,” said Clinton.
  1. On security: “The most historic ruins in Syria, in Palmyra, were recently taken down, and the man who devoted his life to saving them was beheaded,” said Clinton. “Nobody’s gonna charter a plane and fill it with tourists [to go] there anytime soon.”
  1. On climate change: “If the waters continue to rise, it will affect Florida most severely in our country, but it will have a very destructive impact on the whole travel and tourism industry,” he explained.

President Clinton ended on this thought: “Remember that in an interdependent world, if you want to advance travel and tourism, people have to feel secure, they have to have money in their pockets and they have to have healthy places to go,” he said. “The only way to achieve that is when you create networks of cooperation instead of conflict. Wherever it happens, good things occur; wherever it doesn’t, trouble crops up.”

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