Gloria Guevara has resigned from her post as chief executive of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), after leading the global tourism body for four years. She had led the private sector body since 2017, following her service as the tourism secretary of Mexico.
Guevara will be replaced by Julia Simpson, who is currently an executive committee member of International Airlines Group (IAG). Simpson will take over as president and chief executive from August 15, 2021.
Having served on the boards of British Airways, Iberia and most recently as chief of staff at IAG, Simpson brings with her extensive experience and knowledge of the tourism sector. Prior to this she also served at senior levels in the United Kingdom government including advisor for the UK prime minister.
The recently appointed chairman of WTTC, Arnold Donald, who is also the chief executive of Carnival Corporation, paid tribute to Guevara and greeted Simpson to her new role.
“I would like to first thank Gloria for her dedication and commitment to WTTC, especially in these difficult times,” said Donald.
“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.”
He added: “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 tourism sector.”
Guevara, who recently presided over a successful Global Summit in Cancun, expressed that she was leaving with a heavy heart.
“I am very proud to have led this diverse and talented team and to have worked with so many amazing industry leaders, who are our members, and built strong relationships with government heads of tourism around the world.
“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.”
Julia 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 330m 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.”