The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) is an organization founded in 1990 by the CEOs of different travel and tourism organizations. Members of the World Travel and Tourism Council includes the entire spectrum of the Travel and Tourism industry – from airlines and airports to hotels and hospitality groups, tour operators and retail travel agents, online distributors, cruise lines, investment companies, insurance groups, and the technology industry.
Background to the World Travel and Tourism council
The idea of creating the World Travel and Tourism council rose in the late 1980s when a group of industry Chairs and CEOs, led by James Robinson III, then Chairman and CEO of American Express came to the realization that, although Travel & Tourism was the largest industry in the world and the biggest provider of jobs, few in the industry, let alone within governments, were aware of this. According to its founders, there was no consolidated data, nor industry voice, through which to convey this message to elected officials and policy-makers. Indeed, Travel & Tourism was considered by many as frivolous or, at least, a non-essential activity.
Therefore, the initial meeting to discuss about the foundation of the World Travel and Tourism council was held in Paris in 1989 between a number of industry leaders from different parts of the globe. One notable outcome of the meeting was that the participants received a powerful message from Henry Kissinger, which confirmed that they represented the world’s biggest industry but that it was not recognized because it was too fragmented.
This gave added impetus to the group’s objectives the World Travel and Tourism council was established in 1990, with James Robinson III as Chairman and Geoffrey Lipman as President. At the time of the first AGM in Washington in 1991, in the aftermath of the Gulf War, the Council comprised 32 Members. This first official meeting served to determine the objectives of WTTC and the key issues to be addressed.
The main objectives of the World Travel and Tourism Council are:
-Governments recognizing Travel & Tourism as a top priority
-Business balancing economics with people, culture and environment
– A shared pursuit of long-term growth and prosperity.
World Travel and Tourism council Summit
Each year, the World Travel and Tourism Council organizes a summit which takes place in one of the designated countries. The World Travel & Tourism Council Summit is the biggest event of the world tourism calendar, hosted annually at different locations, enabling countries to display their tourism potentials and opportunities. The summit attracted world leaders, global tourism CEOs and women entrepreneurs, discussing the way forward for the travel and tourism industry.
As confirmed by the Rwanda Development Board (DRB), the 2023 World Travel & Tourism Council Summit will be hosted by Rwanda. The dates of the summit will be announced in January 2023.