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Indo-American chosen to hotel body

Zambia-born Ash Patel is the new secretary of the influential Asian American Hotel Owners Association.

india Updated: Mar 30, 2006 15:29 IST

Indian American Ash Patel, the new secretary of the Asian American Hotel Owners Association, says the organisation is looking to further expand its membership and to gain political clout.

The hoteliers' body, Patel said, was breaking new ground with revenue sharing and record dollars spent on educational events.

Representing more than 8,300 members, AAHOA is one of the leading forces in the hospitality industry and one of the most powerful Asian American advocacy groups.

'And we are reaching a new stage. We have alliances with AAPI (American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin) and the Taiwanese Hotel Owners Association of Southern California. We want to make alliances,' Patel said.

'We have had a banner year,' added Patel.

'We bridged a lot of relationships,' he said in the context of differences with sponsors and vendors last year when Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi was invited as chief guest, but the State Department declined him a visa on grounds of alleged human rights abuses.

'Ours was not a political decision,' Ash said, noting that there had been considerable unhappiness with the State Department's decision.

'Over the last two years, we had a lot of internal turmoil. But the differences were all positive,' he affirmed. 'Out of differences, come debate, negotiations and compromise.'

But he added: 'Consensus is not always good. I actually like debate and working out differences.'

He will take over as chairman of AAHOA two years from now when current chairman Mukesh Mowji ends his term in 2007, and Danny Patel (current vice chairman) ends his chairmanship in 2008.

Born and raised in Luanshya, Zambia, Patel had his high school education in Baroda in Gujarat. After a year of university education in Mumbai, he moved to the US in 1984.

AAHOA supports its members through educational programmes and advocacy in the legislature, media and hospitality industry.

First Published: Mar 30, 2006 15:19 IST