— Cressy tells group hospitality taxes crush small business growth, jobs — Washington, DC – Distilled Spirits Council President Peter Cressy, speaking yesterday during the opening panel discussion at the Global Travel and Tourism Summit in Washington D.C., underscored the devastating and far-reaching impact taxes have on the entire hospitality industry. The three day summit brings together chief executive officers and chairmen of the world’s foremost travel and tourism businesses, cabinet ministers, senior government officials and journalists from around the globe to discuss key issues facing the tourism industry. “It’s the restaurants, bars, taverns and hotels that provide the special moments for tourists and business travelers everyday,” said Cressy stressing that the important role of the hospitality industry needs to be recognized and protected. “Taxing tourists and business travelers is unfortunately convenient because they don’t vote in the cities and towns in which they travel. But in the long run, it’s bad economic policy because it impedes growth,” he said citing an analysis of 10 major cities, which shows tourists are hit with 16 different direct taxes. Cressy stated that all parts of the hospitality industry face excessive taxation – from airfare to rental cars to hotel rooms to meals and drinks – costing over $40 billion annually in taxes in the United States alone. He called on the group to expand the definition of travel and tourism to include hospitality and to work to create broad-based coalitions that include restaurants, hotels, auto rental companies, convention and tourism bureaus, major food supply companies and the beverage alcohol industry. Cressy commented that public officials need to understand that a tax on alcohol is a tax on the hospitality industry and its workers. He pointed out that beverage alcohol products are a key profit center for restaurants representing 26 to 40 percent of restaurant profits. “To stop these job crushing taxes, we must work together to deliver three basic messages: hospitality taxes hurt small businesses; hospitality taxes cause job loss and travelers make economic choices,” Cressy said. Joining Cressy on the panel was a prestigious group of business leaders including Thomas Donohue, President and CEO of the US Chamber of Commerce; Jay Rasulo, Chairman, Walt Disney Parks & Resorts; Tim Zagat, Chairman & CEO, Zagat Survey LLC, Sarmad Zok, CEO, Kingdom Hotel Investments; Fanny Palli-Petralia, Minister of Tourism in Greece; Lalit Suri, Chairman and Managing Director of Bharat Hotels, Ltd.; Jonathan Linen, advisor to the Chairman of American Express Company; and Arnie Weissman, Editor in Chief, Travel Weekly.