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2017 outlook depends on Trump policies, Hilton CEO says

Executives at Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. are optimistic that the company's revenue can grow in the months ahead, but the company's CEO said much depends on the Trump administration's ability to deliver tax and regulatory reform.

During an earnings conference call, President and CEO Christopher Nassetta said the company has not seen a financial impact from President Donald Trump's executive order restricting travel and immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries. The order has been in legal limbo since a federal court blocked it shortly after it took effect.

Nassetta said he feels more optimistic about the company's projections for 2017 RevPAR growth of 1% to 3% than he did in the fall of 2016.

"Having said all that, it's early in the year," he added. "There's a lot going on, if you watch cable news and read the newspapers. Some of the things that have created the positive sentiment, I think, in the business community relate to the idea of tax reform, regulatory reform, the possibility for infrastructure spend. And while I think there is decent momentum on a number of those things, in the end, what will matter is what actually happens."

Asked about the travel ban, Nassetta noted that only roughly 5% of Hilton's domestic business comes from international travelers. While revenue from such travelers declined in 2016, he added, that was largely a result of a strengthening dollar relative to other currencies. The trend is likely to continue in 2017, he added.

"As it relates to the travel ban, we've been tracking it as carefully as we can," he said. "We have not seen any material impact as a consequence of what's happened over the last two or three weeks. We obviously will keep watching it and keep an eye on it, but nothing in any way material [has] come from it at this point."