‘A force for social change’


THE CEO-level World Travel & Tourism Council Summit will take place from April 10 to 12 this year at the Washington Convention Center in Washington DC.

This year’s theme, Open Mind, Open World, conveys the need to encourage cultural exchange, to promote better understanding between nations, and to bolster economies through increased business and leisure travel. The summit’s agenda will reflect topical issues surrounding travel, and the far-reaching economic impact the travel and tourism industry has on a wide range of business sectors.
WTTC President Jean-Claude Baumgarten said that although the global travel and tourism industry last year generated more than 10 percent of the global GDP, its collective heft and impact are not widely understood. Therefore, he said, the influential WTTC is holding six sessions across three days to generate discussion between industry leaders, government officials, and the media. Topics range from the effects of aging populations to the promises of new technology, and the challenges of travel in a post-September 11 world. “Our industry created more than 200 million jobs last year,” said Baumgarten. “We affect economies and lives in thousands of ways. Our industry is truly a force for social change and sustainable development.”
Based in London, the WTTC is the preeminent advocacy group for the global travel and tourism industry. It is the only body representing the private sector in all parts of the travel and tourism industry worldwide. WTTC’s mission is to raise awareness of the full economic impact of the world’s largest generator of wealth and jobs: travel and tourism.
This year’s summit is co-sponsored by the Travel Industry Association of America (TIA) and the Travel Business Roundtable (TBR).
Speakers at the summit include Eric Anderson, CEO Space Adventures; Alex Christou of Accenture’s Transportation & Travel Services Practice; Arthur de Haast, global CEO, Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels; Thomas J Donohue, president and CEO, US Chamber of Commerce; Edouard Ettedgui, group chief executive, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group; Emirates Group vice-chairman and group president Maurice Flanagan CBE; Francesco Frangialli, director UNWTO; Stelios Haji-Ioannou, founder and chairman, EasyGroup; James Hogan, president & CEO, Gulf Air; Grant L Kelley, CEO, Colony Capital Asia; Larry Kellner, CEO, Continental Airlines; Gerald Lawless, CEO, Jumeirah Group; Manfredi Lefebvre d'Ovidio, chairman, Silversea Cruises; JW Marriott Jr, chairman & CEO, Marriott International; Fanny Palli-Petralia, Minister of Tourism, Greece; Bob Puccini, CEO, The Puccini Group; Jay Rasulo, chairman Walt Disney Parks & Resorts; Carl Ruderman, chairman, Universal Media; Lalit Suri, chairman & MD, Bharat Hotels; Tony Wheeler, founder, Lonely Planet; James Wilson, CEO, Nakheel & Dubai Waterfront Company; Vincent A Wolfington chairman emeritus, Carey International and Chairman, World Travel & Tourism Council; and Sarmad Zok, CEO, Kingdom Hotel Investments.