WTTC Change Makers

30 Years of World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC)

Our mission is to maximise the inclusive and sustainable growth potential of the Travel & Tourism sector by partnering with governments, destinations, communities, and other stakeholders to drive economic development, create jobs, reduce poverty and foster peace, security, and understanding in our world.

Since the initial discussions between industry CEOs in the late 1980s about establishing a forum for business leaders in Travel & Tourism to the way it is today, WTTC has had many achievements, and its role & activities grown significantly. But its core mission remains the same - to raise awareness of the full economic and social impact and potential of Travel & Tourism.

Why was WTTC formed?

In the late 1980s a group of industry Chairs and CEOs, led by James Robinson III - then Chairman and CEO of American Express - came to the realisation 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. 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.

This realisation led to an initial meeting 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 recognised because it was too fragmented. This gave added impetus to the group’s objectives and WTTC 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.

WTTC's Founding and First Members

WTTC today

The World Travel & Tourism Council of today is an organisation that has developed enormously since its inception, yet it still holds the same core values and purpose. The three main messages are in keeping with the vision of the CEOs who founded the Council in 1990:

  • Governments recognising Travel & Tourism as a top priority
  • Business balancing economics with people, culture and environment
  • A shared pursuit of long-term growth and prosperity

WTTC’s Members remain the driving force behind its activities and policies. Membership now includes the entire spectrum of the Travel & 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.

As a voluntary organisation, WTTC provides an important example of business leaders spending time and money to move their global activity forward while playing a pivotal role in ensuring sustainable development in our ever-changing world.

WTTC’s research, which quantifies the direct and total impact of Travel & Tourism on our economies in terms of GDP and employment growth, has helped to raise awareness of the economic contribution of our industry and continues to feature heavily in the media and in Governments.

For over 30 years, our work has been fundamental in creating change and raising the awareness of Travel & Tourism’s value, not just as one of the world’s largest economic sectors, but also to the many communities and travellers enriched through their experiences. Our goal is for the Travel & Tourism sector to be seamless, secure, safe, inclusive, and sustainable whilst working to a greater public/private sector collaboration.

Explore WTTC

WTTC Change Making Policies

Our Members and Partners are inspired by a sense of responsibility and a desire to contribute to a better world. These powerful partnerships enable us to drive sustainable inclusive economic developments and ensure the seamless & secure mobility of travellers.

WTTC's Global Summit

We participage in high-level governmental and sector events alongside our yearly Global Summit, the main event in the global Travel & Tourism calendar, which brings together both senior public and private sector figures including Heads of State.

Safe, Seamless, Sustainable Travel & Tourism

Our initiatives bring together key stakeholders from the public & private sectors and focus on issues including safe & seamless travel, crisis readiness & resilience, and sustainable growth through environmental action, destination stewardship, and more.

WTTC's 2020 EIR Global Infographic

Measuring the sector's size, growth, and contribution to society form the backbone of our mission. We produce globally recognised economic impact reports and key insights.

WTTC's Latest Press Releases

Keep up to date with WTTC's news by following us on social, reading our latest press releases, viewing our latest blog posts, or signing up for our monthly newsletter.

Who are WTTC and what do they do

Alongside our board of Vice-Chairs and Executive Committee from our Member organisations, our WTTC directors are responsible for guiding the work of the Council in the fulfillment of its mission.

Strategic Partners:        AMEX  global Rescue   Ministry of Tourism Saudi Arabia