By Andrew Aguilera,
Stillman News Editor
On Jan. 20, 2016, the School of Diplomacy and International Relations held an event entitled, “The Importance of Diplomacy and Negotiation in Advancing Travel Policy,” in the Diplomacy Room in McQuaid Hall. Since the event was open to the entire Seton Hall community, many Stillman students decided to attend. The event included a presentation by Roger Dow ’68, who is a Seton Hall graduate that has held an executive position in Marriott International and is now the President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the United States Travel Association. Following the presentation, there was a reception where students had the opportunity to speak with Dow directly.
Dow began his presentation with a unique, humorous video that featured Donald Trump engaging with Dow. During Dow’s time at Marriott, he had the opportunity to meet and work with Trump. Dow then showed a video about the U.S. Travel Association so the audience could better understand the organization and how it operates. In the video, various U.S. Travel Association employees were featured on a variety of news stations, including Fox News and MSNBC.
Following the video, he began speaking about the importance and relevance of traveling. He noted that “47 percent of people are more likely to admire America after visiting, as opposed to not visiting.”
During Dow’s presentation, he explained how the travel industry has changed over the past decade. He presented many interesting statistics regarding travel. He allotted a large portion of time to speak about the Visa Waiver Program, which makes it easier for people to travel to the United States.
From 2006 to 2014, the U.S. Travel Association, in collaboration with many other parties, were able to reduce wait times for the visa waiver program from 120 days to 5 days.
Now, the Visa Waiver Program incorporates 38 countries and United States visitors have increased by over 20 million in the past five years.
Dow emphasized that the program makes it easier for people to travel, while still having strict security and extensive background checks.
Later in the presentation, Dow spoke about the recent progress in the travel relationship between the United States and China.
With the new policies, people will be able to apply for ten year visas as opposed to reapplying for visas every year.
This makes it easier for people in that they do not have to wait in two to three hour long lines each year to reapply.
Dow continued by describing what he has learned on his journey from Seton Hall to CEO of the U.S. Travel Association.
He explained his step-by-step process of solving problems. His advice was to first define the problem and see what opportunities there are in solving the problem.
Then, gather a variety of solutions and ideas and set big goals. It is vital to know where the company wants to be.
Next, identify “champions” or people who can really help reach the goal. One can continue by bringing people together and ensuring that everyone is on the same page, having “one voice”.
The uniform understanding is a key element in spreading the proper message. Finally, he advised everyone to celebrate success and always keep in mind that the big goals are not achieved quickly.
Dow finished by reflecting on one specific experience that he had while he was on the wrestling team at Seton Hall.
At the time, he was a freshman and he had to face one of the best collegiate wrestlers at the Lehigh University preseason tournament.
He remembered that his coach had advised him to not get hurt, as opposed to motivating him. Dow elaborated on this experience, stating that as a leader, one should always motivate others to succeed.
He capped off an excellent presentation stating, “Do not let people put you in a box.”
After the presentation, Dow answered students’ questions regarding his experience and what he has learned in his career.
In this portion, he highlighted the importance of improving the quality of the United States’ airports and the convenience of high-speed rail which may come in the near future.
In the end, the event was a great welcome back for Dow and the audience was able to learn so much about the travel industry.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, January 26th print edition.
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