Loews: Hotels poised for good summer, but face dollar headwinds

Hotel outlook sunny but dark clouds loom
Hotel outlook sunny but dark clouds loom   

Hotel operators are poised for a good summer, but the strength of the greenback could put a dent in profits as foreign travelers rule out a trip to expensive America, Jonathan Tisch, co-chairman of Loews Hotels and Resorts, said Thursday.

That trend has not yet developed, but the potential exists, he told CNBC's "Squawk Box."

"That international traveler is so important to us, especially here in New York City," Tisch said. "They stay longer. They spend more money. The numbers are really compelling about how much the international traveler spends."

Last year, 12.2 million of New York City's record 56.4 million visitors came from abroad, but the foreign tourists accounted for 50 percent of all the money spent by tourists.

The dollar is no longer rising at the meteoric pace seen in 2014, but it is still up about 5 percent year to date against a basket of currencies.

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Internationally focused hotel chains may see the upside, however, as more Americans consider a trip to Europe as the value of the euro remains relatively low, Tisch noted. In response to currency trends, airlines have lowered prices for Europe-bound flights, he added.

Meanwhile, business travel—a source of concern since the bad old days of 2008—is looking strong, Tisch said.

"If you look at the summer ahead, the economy is holding steady. Businesses feel good about sending their people, their men and women on the road, so group business is up a little bit," he said.

—CNBC's Lori Ann Larocco contributed reporting to this story.

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that New York City attracted 54 million international visitors.

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