World Travel and Tourism Council
|Industry||Travel & Tourism|
|Headquarters||London, United Kingdom|
|Key people||Michael Frenzel (Chairman)
David Scowsill (President & CEO)
The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) is a forum for the travel and tourism industry. It is made up of members from the global business community and works with governments to raise awareness about the travel and tourism industry. It is known for being the only forum to represent the private sector in all parts of the industry worldwide. Its activities include research on the economic and social impact of the industry and its organisation of global and regional summits focused on issues and developments relevant to the industry.
The World Travel and Tourism Council began in the 1980s with a group of business executives led by former American Express CEO James D. Robinson III. The group was formed to discuss the travel and tourism industry and the need for more data relating to the importance of what some believed was a non-essential industry. Discussions led to the first meeting of the WTTC in Paris, France in 1989. The first meeting included a speech by former United States Secretary of State Henry Kissinger who suggested that the travel and tourism industry was not widely recognized due to its not having any organisation or structure. The WTTC was officially established in 1990.
The first Annual General Meeting took place in Washington, DC, in 1991, at which time the Council was composed of 32 members. These initial members agreed on the need for a common effort to promote awareness of the economic contribution made by the travel and tourism industry. The founding members provided investment and support to produce economic data that could demonstrate the importance of the industry. They shared an interest in ensuring greater interest from governments and policy-makers in order to facilitate the future success of travel and tourism.
Robert H Burns took over as Chairman for the WTTC in 1993, at which time there were 68 members. It began releasing tourism impact information around the same time, working with Wharton Econometric Forecasting Associates to develop the data. The WTTC formed a group know as the Tourism Satellite Account (TSA) to compile and release the data. The TSA was recognized by the United Nations Statistical Commission in 1999. During the 1990s, the WTTC expanded the activities of the Council to include education and training, air transport liberalisation, and taxation and sustainable development. The new activities led to the creation of the World Travel and Tourism Human Resources Centre in Vancouver and the World Travel & Tourism Taxation Policy Centre in the United States.
In 1997, the WTTC organised the first Global Travel & Tourism Summit, which took place in Vilamoura, Portugal. Membership in the organisation also reached 100 the same year. Two more Summits were held in Vilamoura in 2000 and 2003, which were followed with annual meetings held in various locations throughout the world.
Organisation and membership
The WTTC is headquartered in an office located in London, UK. The staff are led by the President and CEO of WTTC. Seven directors head the different sections of the organisation. The WTTC members are the chief executives, presidents, or chairs of companies from different sectors and regions within the travel and tourism industry. The WTTC has two membership types, Global Members and Regional Members. It also has a category for companies that provide services to the industry, referred to as Industry Partnership.
Current and past presidents
- 1990 - 2001: Geoffrey Lipman
- 2001 - 2010: Jean-Claude Baumgarten
- 2010 - present: David Scowsill
The WTTC performs and publishes research in conjunction with Oxford Economics on the economic and social impact of the travel and tourism industry. The foundation of the WTTC’s research activity is a set of annually produced Travel & Tourism Economic Impact Reports. These include a global report as well as 24 regional and 184 country reports. The reports calculate the economic impact of the industry including the direct and total GDP impacts, direct and indirect employment, investment, and exports. Using models based on Tourism Satellite Accounting, the Council reports one year and ten year forecasts for these impacts. This research is used by major publications including Forbes and Bloomberg News. It also supplies country indicators for the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report, a report published by the World Economic Forum that ranks selected nations according to the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index.
The WTTC organises a Global Summit each year, usually held in April, with a regional summit held sometime in the third quarter. The summit is described as the world’s highest profile meeting for the travel and tourism industry, with up to 1,000 individuals attending each year. Decision-makers from international tourism companies and leaders from around the world meet to engage in dialogue on the key issues the industry is facing. Attendance to the summit is by invitation from WTTC or the respective host committee only, and is reserved to leaders in the travel and tourism industry or public sector actors who are involved with policy-making for the sector.
At the 2013 Global Summit in Abu Dhabi, former US President Bill Clinton spoke and told the audience that the travel industry has the potential and responsibility to spread peace and change the world. Other speakers in Abu Dhabi included more than 40 leading public figures, including Sir David Frost, British journalist and media personality; Daryl Hannah, American actress and activist; Sir Jonathon Porritt, environmentalist; David de Rothschild, adventurer and environmentalist; David Scowsill, WTTC president; and James Hogan, chief executive, Etihad Airways. At an Asia Regional Summit in South Korea later that year, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair presented a similar message, warning western governments not to disregard the wealth-generating benefits of the tourism industry.
Tourism for Tomorrow Awards
In 2004, the WTTC took over the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards. These Awards were initially founded by the Federation of Tour Operators in 1989 and taken over by British Airways in 1992. The Tourism for Tomorrow Awards are awarded in several categories to encourage and acknowledge developments in sustainable tourism. Winners are selected through several rounds of judging, which include on-site visits to the finalists. This judging process includes an independent chair of the judges, a three-step judging process involving up to 22 independent expert judges from around the world, and on-site evaluations of the finalists. The Award categories have changed over time and as of 2014 include Business, Destination, Community, Environment, Innovation and People. Two new categories were added for the 2014 Awards to reflect the broadening scope of WTTC’s sustainability agenda and recognise the areas of human resources and innovation.
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- World Travel and Tourism Council official website
- World Travel and Tourism member list
- World Travel and Tourism Forum