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José Manuel Barroso and Ana Botín among speakers at the WTTC 15th annual Global Summit in Madrid

Comunidad de Madrid and Madrid City Hall confirm the event as one of the biggest milestones for Spain’s Travel & Tourism sector in 2015

José Manuel Barroso will speak at the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) 15th annual Global Summit in Madrid, 15-16 April 2015. At a press conference at the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum today, Spanishgovernment authorities and WTTC announced that the theme for the Summit will be ‘Disruption & Reinvention’. They also announced that the former President of the European Commission will speak at the prestigious global event alongside international business leaders including Ana Botín, Executive Chairman of Santander Bank.

Up to 1000 people from around the world, including 300 chief executives, government ministers, thought leaders and media will come to Madrid for the Summit.

Co-hosted by Comunidad de Madrid and Madrid City Hall, with the collaboration of the Spanish Ministry of Tourism, the Summit will be held in Madrid’s largest conference venue, IFEMA, and a Gala Dinner will take place at Palacio de Cibeles in the city centre.

José Manuel Barroso’s presentation will discuss Europe’s economic and political past, present and future and how Travel & Tourism stands as Europe enters a new political environment. Other speakers at the Summit include Luis Gallego, CEO, Iberia; Luis Maroto, President, Amadeus; Federico González Tejera, CEO, NH Hotel Group; Petra Nemcova, philanthropist; Richard Leakey, anthropologist and conservationist; and David Scowsill, President and CEO, WTTC. /

Leaders and industry experts will discuss the industry’s global growth and the characteristics of tourism in the future. Thought leaders from inside and outside Travel & Tourism will give their perspective on some of the disruptive forces challenging the sector today– including geopolitical risk, climate change and technology - and how the sector can respond to them. Tourism development in Spain will also be explored, with a focus on Madrid’s emergence as a hub linking Spain to the rest of the world.  

Travel & Tourism leaders from across the world and industry sectors, will come to the Summit including from aviation: Temel Kotil, CEO of Turkish Airlines, James Hogan, CEO of Etihad, and Michael O’Leary, CEO of Ryanair; from the technology and distribution sector: Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO of Expedia, and CC Zhuang, CEO of Qunar; and from hospitality: Chris Nassetta, CEO of Hilton, Richard Solomons, CEO of IHG, and Chip Conley, Head of Global Hospitality and Strategy of Airbnb. David Scowsill, President & CEO, WTTC, says the Global Summit is a must-attend  event; “There is no higher event in the Travel & Tourism calendar for Travel & Tourism private and public sector leaders. Despite economic downturns, terrorist attacks, social unrest, extreme weather events and health pandemics, the Travel & Tourism sector remains resilient. This year’s Global Summit will explore the state of Travel & Tourism around the world and where reinvention is necessary to maintain and grow market share”.

The Spanish Ministry of Tourism, Comunidad de Madrid and Madrid’s City Hall say the hosting of the global event in Madrid has great significance for the city and Spain.

Mayor of Madrid, Ana Botella has declared that “the celebration in the capital of the main event of the World Travel & Tourism Council is an extraordinary way to celebrate the good momentum that our touristic sector is experiencing; and corroborates the growth in the number of visitors to the city of Madrid during last year, with more than 8.3 million tourists.

“With this international meeting, Madrid will be, during the month of April, the world’s capital for tourism, and the spotlight for trends that make a sector, that is strategic to our economy, grow. This annual appointment, which is celebrated for the first time in our country, will contribute to establish Madrid as a destination in the minds of nearly 1,000 experts in the travel industry, as well as sharing with the whole world the touristic, cultural, gastronomic, shopping and leisure attractions of Madrid”, assured Botella. 

For Ana Isabel Mariño, Regional Minister for Employment, Tourism and Culture of Comunidad de Madrid, the celebration of this Summit gives the region “a unique opportunity to reinforce our status as a first category destination in an increasingly globalized touristic environment, especially in the emerging markets”. Mariño recalled that Madrid had to compete with other thriving destinations to be chosen as the host for this Summit, rising above them due to the impact the tourism sector has experienced during the last years in the region - 60% more tourists visited than 10 years ago. “We want this sector to continue growing as it employs 300,000 people in the region. That’s why during the next four years we will increase by 30% our tourism inflow; increase individual tourist spending by 50%, reduce seasonal demand by 20% and increase travel during the low season”.

Best practice in sustainable tourism from across the world will also be celebrated at WTTC’s prestigious Tourism for Tomorrow Awards ceremony on 15th April, where five winners from the shortlist of 15 finalists will be announced.  

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