Bill Marriott seeks action on energy crisis

With sky-high fuel prices
threatening the airline industry and potentially stifling travel throughout
the U.S., Marriott International has joined other
leaders in the travel and tourism industry to call on the U.S. Congress and
the Administration to forge a bipartisan response to the new energy crisis.J.W. “Bill” Marriott, Jr. chairman and chief executive officer of the
company, supported an industry letter calling on senators, representatives
and the president to stay in Washington through the summer to develop a
comprehensive national energy policy. He said that Americans’ family
budgets have been squeezed both by higher prices at the pump as well as
much costlier airline seats.

  “If any of you have tried to make holiday travel plans lately, you
probably know the rising cost of fuel is hitting the airlines hard. I’m
sure you’ve also noticed that the airlines have raised ticket prices and
added fuel surcharges. In some cities, flights have been cut, which makes
it harder to get a seat,” he said.

  “What this means is that a lot of airlines are really strapped. We’ve
already seen nine small or mid-sized carriers cease operations in the last
year. From what economists are saying, the day when long-familiar airlines
go under is looming.”

  “That prospect concerns me,” said Marriott. He pointed out that the
impact of less available and more costly airline service to destinations
large and small would create a “huge ripple effect affecting the entire
travel industry,” including hotels, car rental companies, and cruise
lines.” Marriott also said the list of sectors feeling the impact could
include amusement parks, national parks, taxi services, restaurants, shops,
travel agents, and others.

  “Travel and tourism employs 7.5 million people in the U.S. alone. A lot
of people could lose their jobs!” he said. Marriott suggested Hawaii is
already feeling the pinch, where two airlines have gone out of business


  Marriott urged Congress and the Administration to stay in Washington
and pass legislation. He said the joint letter with travel industry
partners suggests that there is no one solution to the energy problem, but
that a workable agreement could include some elements of strengthening the
U.S. dollar, changing rules related to commodities futures trading,
encouraging conservation measures and development of alternative energy,
and increasing U.S. energy supplies by expanding refining capacity and
releasing some oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

  “The American people—and travelers and tourists in the U.S.—need
our help. Let’s all let Congress know that the time to get something done
on energy and fuel prices is now. They shouldn’t be going home in August
while travelers in America are finding it harder and harder to go
anywhere,” said Marriott.