The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), which represents the global travel and tourism private sector, has announced the departure of Gloria Guevara after four years leading the global tourism body. It also announced the appointment of International Airlines Group (IAG) executive committee member Julia Simpson as its president and CEO effective August 15.
The former tourism secretary of Mexico, Guevara, who joined WTTC in August 2017, has led the body and its members through a transformational agenda over the past years, including the sector’s significant impact from the COVID-19 pandemic. Guevara was the strong voice in leading the global travel and tourism sector through its most difficult year in history and has helped unite the sector and define the path for the recovery.
“It is with a heavy heart that I leave WTTC. I am very proud to have led this diverse and talented team and to have worked with so many amazing industry leaders, who are WTTC’s members, and built strong relationships with government heads of tourism around the world,” said Guevara in a statement. “I leave WTTC after completing my mandate, in a stronger position as the voice of the private sector and the leader of the global agenda. I know that under Julia’s solid leadership, WTTC will continue to build on this legacy and lead it into its next chapter, championing the entire global travel and tourism sector to its recovery.”
Simpson brings extensive experience in the travel and tourism sector, having served on the boards of British Airways, Iberia and most recently as chief of staff at International Airlines Group. She previously worked at senior levels in the U.K. government, including advisor for the U.K. prime minister.
Simpson said: “It will be a great privilege to lead WTTC as it emerges from the worst crisis in our history. Travel and tourism plays a critical role to our economies across the globe, accounting for 330 million jobs in 2019. In many communities it is the backbone of family run businesses that have been left devastated.
“The travel and tourism sector has shown real leadership in ‘reopening’ the world safely and securely; and I look forward to shaping and driving the sector’s ambitious agenda to achieve long-term sustainable and inclusive growth.”
Carnival Corporation president and CEO, Arnold Donald, who was recently appointed as chair of WTTC, paid tribute to Gloria Guevara and welcomed Julia Simpson to her new role. He said: “I would like to first thank Gloria for her dedication and commitment to WTTC, especially in these difficult times. Her contributions have been immeasurable, from helping to unite the sector as it manages and recovers from the pandemic, to providing a clear voice and direction for the safe restart of international travel. And I and the entire executive committee are grateful for Gloria’s continued help through this transition and her support to WTTC.
“I am delighted to welcome Julia Simpson, an exceptional leader with experience both in the private sector and in government, to help guide WTTC at this critical juncture of the travel and tourism sector. I look forward to working with Julia in my role as chair, to continue building on WTTC’s many successful initiatives."