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Marriott CEO weighs impact of terrorism on hotel industry

In the span of just one week last year, a Russian airplane carrying tourists crashed with ISIS taking credit, 130 people were killed in Paris, and gunmen took hostages at a Mali hotel that ended with dozens of people dead. And the State Department has a worldwide travel alert issued until late February 2016.

This uptick in terror attacks targeting the travel industry and tourists around the world has prompted business leaders to address their security strategy.

"We live in a risky world, we run hotels which are meant to welcome people, they're not hard targets, if you will," Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson told CBS News at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. "But we do pay attention to security threats, we talk with the authorities around the world, and we have threat condition levels. When risks are up, we have more elaborate security procedures in place."

Sorenson also spoke about the business impact terrorism has on the industry. "When a terrorist event occurs, I mean obviously they're all different in terms of magnitude and in terms of impact, what we typically see is leisure business quickly pulls away from the market," he said.

He noted that business in Paris was down 25 percent after the November terror attacks. He expects the occupancy level to normalize by February of March. In total, the attacks have cost hoteliers in Paris an estimated 270 million euros according to research firm MKG Group.

While the tourism industry is hurting in France, the U.S. and China are Marriott's fastest growing markets. And even though China's economic growth has waned, Sorenson said that the hotel industry there will actually thrive.

"Think about what's happening in China a little bit, yes the economy growth rate is slowing a bit from where it's been the last few decades and the last few years, but the Chinese government is trying to move that economy from a production economy to a consumer economy. We're on the consumer side," Sorenson explained. "And as a consequence I think our space will be a stronger performing part of the Chinese economy than the economy on average."

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