Indian-American hotelier urges Trump admin to reopen US economy

Washington: Highlighting the struggles of Coronavirus hit American hoteliers, a prominent Indian American businessman has requested the Trump administration to reopen the economy “with common sense precautions”.

Danny Gaekwad, Chairman of OSEM Hospitality Management, said the pandemic has hit the hotel industry hard, and owners and employees alike continue to struggle.

“Reopening our businesses with common sense precautions that prioritize the health and wellbeing of employees and guests will help our industry and our state gets our economy moving again,” Gaekwad was quoted as saying in the American Bazaar.

Gaekwad spoke on behalf of the influential Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA) at a roundtable of hospitality and tourism industry, hosted by Vice President Mike Pence in Orlando.

The AAHOA accounts for more than 50 per cent of the hotels and motels in the United States and over 90 per cent members of AAHOA are of Indian-origin.

Gaekwad, a resident of Ocala, in central Florida, drew Pence’s attention on the liquidity crisis faced by the members of AAHOA.

“If there is no guest, there is no dollar. If there is no dollar, don’t even think about liquidity. Do we have liquidity? Absolutely not,” the American Bazaar quoted the hotelier as saying.

“As an immigrant, my whole family works in a business because it does bother us. I represent here more than 20,000 (AAOHA) members. We all came with an American Dream. I thought I saw 9/11, I thought I saw the greatest recession. I have never seen this and I was never prepared for this.”

Besides Pence, the event was attended by Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and several prominent business leaders from the state.

The novel coronavirus has so far claimed 328,120 lives and infected nearly 5 million people globally. The US is worst affected with 93,439 deaths and over 1.5 million infections, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

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