WTTC 19th Global Summit final program: Changemakers including President Obama meet in Seville

The World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC) will be heading to Seville, Spain this week to attend the  19th Global Summit of WTTC on April 3 and 4. WTTC members are the chief executives, presidents, or chairs of the 100 largest companies from different sectors and regions within the travel and tourism industry. This year non-members are able to attend for a $4,000.00 ticket per delegate.

The event will be centered on the theme of ‘Changemakers’, harnessing the 500th anniversary of the first circumnavigation of the world from Seville and the world-changing impact of that achievement.

WTTC aims to inspire delegates with change-making individuals and ideas to craft the future vision of Travel & Tourism. Entrepreneurship, creativity, innovation, diversity, and inclusivity will drive the conversation. Delegates invested heavily to bring one of the “changemakers” to the summit. He is former U.S. President Barack Obama.

This is the final version of the program as it stands today:

DAY 1: Wednesday 3 April


Christopher J. Nassetta, Chairman, World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) & CEO, Hilton

Hon Pedro Sánchez, President, Spain

Juan Espadas, Mayor, Seville

Juan Manuel Moreno, President, The Regional Government of Andalusia

Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary-General, UNWTO

1010 Opening speech: ‘Shaping the Future’

Gloria Guevara, President & CEO, WTTC

1025 The Future is …

Three leaders will give short presentations followed by rapid-fire Q&A. The leaders will give their perspectives on what’s next in the world of communications, technology, and sustainability and the challenges and opportunities for Travel & Tourism as a leading force for change.

Keynote: José María Álvarez-Pallete, Chairman & CEO, Telefónica S.A.

Keynote: Michael Froman, Vice Chairman and President, Strategic Growth, Mastercard

Keynote: Gary Knell, Chairman, National Geographic Partners

Q&A: Kathleen Matthews, Journalist & Presenter

1115 In the Hotseat

Back to back interviews with industry leaders who will share their vision of the future and what it will take for the Travel & Tourism sector to keep ahead of the curve

Hotseat 1: Mark Okerstrom, President & CEO, Expedia Group

Interviewer: Glenda McNeal, President, Enterprise Strategic Partnerships, American Express Company

Hotseat 2: Keith Barr, CEO, IHG

Interviewer: Tanya Beckett, Journalist & Presenter, BBC

1145 BREAK

1215 PREPARING FOR THE FUTURE: Seamless Traveller Journey

WTTC’s Seamless Traveller Journey initiative aims to revolutionise travel security and facilitation by providing a seamless end-to-end journey which incorporates not only airports and airlines but cruise, hotel, car rental and other elements of the journey. Now in its second phase, the focus of Seamless Traveller Journey is on how the private sector and governments can work together to ensure increased security and less friction go hand in hand.

Scene setter: Kevin McAleenan, Commissioner, Customs and Border Protection, US Government

Panelists: Sean Donohue, CEO, Dallas Fort Worth International Airport

Richard D Fain, Chairman, and CEO, Royal Caribbean Cruises

Tadashi Fujita, Executive Vice President, Japan Airlines

Tony Smith, Former Director General, UK Border Agency

John Wagner, Deputy Commissioner, Customs and Border Protection, US Government

Manel Villalante, CEO, Renfe Operadora

Moderator: Isabel Hill, Director, National Travel and Tourism Office, US Department of Commerce

1300 The View from Spain

Reyes Maroto, Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism, Spain

1310 In the Hotseat

Back to back interviews with industry leaders who will share their vision of the future and what it will take for the Travel & Tourism sector to keep ahead of the curve

Hotseat 3: Fritz Joussen, CEO, TUI Group

Hotseat 4: Luis Maroto, President & CEO, Amadeus

Interviewer: Tanya Beckett, Journalist & Presenter, BBC

1335 The Speed of Change…

Geoffrey J W Kent, Founder, Chairman & CEO Abercrombie & Kent, in conversation with Formula One racing legend Sir Jackie Stewart.

1400 LUNCH

Special Lunch Session: Innovating the Traveller Experience

The reality of an integrated, frictionless traveler journey is upon us, paving a path to a seamless experience, improved facilitation and security, operational efficiency for travel providers, and the opportunity for elevated and personalized service throughout the journey. Our panelists are leaders in the fields of biometrics, digital identity, security, and travel technology. They will provide their views on the current state of biometrics and digital identity, paths to implementation broadly across the travel journey, and opportunities that this new technology presents to the future of travel and tourism.

Panelists: Diana Robino, Senior Vice President, Global Tourism Partnerships, Mastercard

Virginie Vacca Thrane, Head of Strategic partnerships – Digital Traveller ID, Amadeus

John Wagner, Deputy Commissioner, Customs and Border Protection, US Government

Gordon Wilson, President, WorldReach Software

Moderator: Jimmy Samartzis, Senior Principal, Oliver Wyman

1515 A Conversation with President Barack Obama

Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States of America

A global political leader will give their perspective on the current state of the world and the important role Travel & Tourism plays as one of the world’s largest economic sectors.

Interviewer: Christopher J. Nassetta, Chairman, WTTC & CEO, Hilton

1615 Ahead of the Curve: The Consumers of Tomorrow

This session will look at different spectrums of the new global consumer and how T&T companies can ensure they are preparing for the consumer of tomorrow.

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Part 1: How Young China and its Millennials want to see and feel the world

Zak Dychtwald, Founder & CEO, Young China Group

Part 2: The New Boomer Experiential Consumer

Ken Dychtwald, Founder & CEO, Age Wave

Moderator: Matthew Upchurch, CEO, Virtuoso

1710 PREPARING FOR THE FUTURE: Are Cities Future Ready?

Destination Stewardship is a strategic priority for WTTC. Huge tourism growth in cities over recent years has shone the spotlight on the need for good planning and management. WTTC has partnered with Jones Lang Lasalle on new research on cities and their preparedness for future growth. This session will look at the report’s findings and how cities around the world are planning and engaging communities in future growth.

Keynote: Dan Fenton, EVP, JLL Hotels & Hospitality Group


H.E. Ahmed Al-Khateeb, President, Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH)*

H.E. Elena Kountoura, Minister for Tourism, Greece

Steffan Panoho, Head of Tourism. Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development

Enrique Ybarra, CEO, City Sightseeing

Moderator: Mark Wynne Smith, Global CEO, JLL Hotels & Hospitality Group

1745 CLOSE

DAY 2: Thursday 4 April


0905 PREPARING FOR THE FUTURE: Today’s Traveller: Authenticity, Values and Instagram

This session will explore what iconic landmarks and destinations can and are doing to ensure they connect with the consumers of the future. Today’s traveller has standards for authenticity, wants to do more than just consume, and then wants to Instagram about it. How do destinations adjust to satisfy the market? The discussion will highlight examples of engagement from retail to destination attractions and also cover how sustainability initiatives help tell a compelling story and elevate authenticity in the traveller’s experience.

Keynote: Anthony Malkin, Chairman & CEO, Empire State Realty Trust, Inc

Panellists: Desiree Bollier, Chair, Value Retail

Jean-François Clervoy, ESA Astronaut & CEO Novespace

Jeremy Jauncey, CEO, Beautiful Destinations

Anthony Malkin, Chairman & CEO, Empire State Realty Trust, Inc

Kike Sarasola, President & Founder, Room Mate Hotels & Bemate.com

Moderator: Jacqueline Gifford, Editor in Chief, Travel + Leisure

1000 Africa on the Rise

H.E. Margaret Kenyatta, First Lady of the Republic of Kenya

1015 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards Ceremony

WTTC’s annual Tourism for Tomorrow Awards ceremony will showcase and celebrate the very best in sustainable tourism from around the world.

Fiona Jeffery, Founder & Chairman, Just a Drop and Chair, Tourism for Tomorrow Awards

Jeffrey C. Rutledge, CEO, AIG Travel

1100 BREAK Draft as at: 27 March 2019 (Please note all sessions, times, and speakers may change *=tbc)

1130 Strategic Insight Sessions PART 1

In recent years, the global Travel & Tourism industry has been redefined by changemakers who are constantly evolving and shaping our travel experience. In a special series of Strategic insight sessions, we explore just what these changemakers are doing to shape the industry and what our direction of travel might be in the future.

1) Embracing product diversity and inclusion – making business sense

2) Cyber-threat: you are compromised

3) What does it take to build successful future destinations?

4) The business case for sustainability

Alberto Durán, Executive Vice President, ONCE

Billy Kolber, Founder, HospitableMe

Deepak Ohri, CEO, lebua Hotels & Resorts

Stacy Ritter, CEO, Fort Lauderdale


Prof Graham Miller, Executive Dean, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Surrey

Suzan Kereere, Global Head, Merchant Sales & Acquiring, Visa

Daniel Richards, CEO, Global Rescue

Jeffrey C. Rutledge, CEO, AIG Travel

Earl Anthony Wayne, Public Policy Fellow, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars


Paul Mee, Partner, Oliver Wyman

Fred Dixon, President & CEO NYC & Company

Aradhana Khowala, Managing Director, Tourism, NEOM

Desiree Maxino, Group Head – Government Policy and ASEAN, Air Asia

Aoife McArdle, Global Head of Business Affairs and Social Impact – Experiences, Airbnb

Eric Resnick, CEO, KSL Capital Partners


Peter Greenberg, Travel Editor, CBS News

Katie Fallon, EVP Global Head of Corporate Affairs, Hilton

Ana Gascón, Director of Corporate Responsibility,

Coca Cola (Spain)

Philippe Gombert, President International, Chairman of The Board, Relais & Châteaux

Simon Heppner, Director, The SRA (Sustainable Restaurant Association)

Geoff Townsend, Industry Fellow, Ecolab


Wendy Purcell and John D. Spengler, Harvard


1315 LUNCH

1415 WTTC FOCUS: Climate & Environment Action in Progress

Felipe Calderón Hinojosa, President of Mexico, 2006-2012

1430 WTTC FOCUS: Social Responsibility

This session will feature the latest updates on the WTTC Buenos Aires Declaration & action against the Illegal Wildlife Trade (IWT) followed by the launch of a new human trafficking initiative.

1450 PREPARING FOR THE FUTURE: The Future of Jobs in the Age of Automation

As more and more jobs are at increasing risk of being automated or rendered obsolete by other technological changes in the next twenty years, this session will look at the opportunities and challenges around employment within the sector and wider society.

Keynote: Andrés Oppenheimer, Author & Presenter, CNN

Panellists: Greg O’Hara, Founder &, Managing Partner, Certares

Andrés Oppenheimer, Author & Presenter, The Miami Herald / CNN

Hiromi Tagawa, Chairman of the Board, JTB Corp

Claudia Tapardel, Member of the Committee on Transport and Tourism, European Parliament

Joan Vilà, Executive Chairman, Hotelbeds

Moderator: Kathleen Matthews, Journalist & Presenter

1545 Vision of the Future

A special stream of keynotes will outline their vision of the future from high-speed transport to pushing the boundaries of disruption and innovation

Keynote: Dirk Alhborn, CEO, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies

Keynote: Chandran Nair, Founder & CEO, The Global Institute for Tomorrow (GIFT)

Keynote: Matthew Devlin, Head of International Affairs, Uber

1630 Closing Ceremony

1645 End

eTurboNews is a media partner with the Summit and will be represented by Elisabeth Lang, who is based in Munich, Germany.

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