Hilton CEO Christopher Nassetta expects U.S. revenue from
inbound international travelers to rise "modestly" this year after a
4% decrease in 2017.
During the company's fourth-quarter earnings call, Nassetta
said that a weaker dollar would provide a small boost.
He also said he hoped there would be a softening of
political rhetoric that might be negatively affecting inbound travel, likely
referring to President Trump's inflammatory comments on immigration.
The U.S. was one of only two destinations in the top 12
global markets to record a decline in long-haul inbound travel since 2015, the
other being Turkey. The U.S. Commerce Department reported last month that from
January to November 2017, international travelers in the U.S. spent 3.3% less
than the year before, a loss of $4.6 billion.
As a result, the U.S. Travel Association, the American Hotel
& Lodging Association, the National Restaurant Association and the U.S.
Chamber of Commerce last month led the formation of the Visit U.S. Coalition.
The group's goal is to partner with the Trump administration in an attempt to
reverse the decline.
"I hope some of the work we're doing as an industry
with the administration will soften the edges of what we're saying,"
Nassetta said. "I'd like to think we're making some progress there."
Despite the drop in inbound travel, revenue per available
room (RevPAR) at Hilton's U.S. properties rose 3.2% in the fourth quarter and
1.5% for all of 2017 as group and corporate business improved.