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CEOs of Thomas Cook and MSC Cruises to Speak at WTTC’s first European Leaders Forum

Global leaders from the travel and tourism industry will meet at the first WTTC European Leaders Forum in Lisbon, Portugal, on September 11, the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) announced on Tuesday.

Hosted by Ana Mendes Godinho, Secretary of State for Tourism in Portugal, and Turismo de Portugal, the invitation-only event will bring together the CEOs and regional leaders of the top travel and tourism companies from across Europe, along with tourism ministers and regional experts.

According to an announcement, the WTTC European Leaders Forum will engage a select group of leaders who will discuss four of the key issues facing the region’s travel and tourism sector: tourism’s role in sustainable urban development, tourism and the future of work, unlocking investment in Europe’s tourism, and supporting innovation in tourism.

The main speakers of the forum include Manuel Caldeira Cabral, Minister of Economy, Portugal; Ana Mendes Godinho, Secretary of State for Tourism, Portugal; Peter Fankhauser, CEO, Thomas Cook Group; and Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman, MSC Cruises.

“The outputs from the European Leaders Forum will inform WTTC’s future work in the region and provide a unique and exclusive space for networking amongst the leaders in attendance,” said Gloria Guevara, WTTC President & CEO.

Speakers at the forum will include Kike Sarasola, President & Founder, Room Mate Hotels &; Robert Swade, CEO, Grace Hotels; Andrea Grisdale, CEO, IC Bellagio; Mário Ferreira, CEO Mystic Invest; Alain Dupeyras, Head of the Regional Development and Tourism Division, OECD; Aradhana Khowala, CEO & Founder, Aptamind Partners; Miguel Leitmann, Founder & CEO, Vision-Box; Kimmo Maki, President & CEO, Finavia; Ian Taylor, Executive Editor, Travel Weekly; Enrique Ybarra, Founder, President & CEO, City Sightseeing Worldwide; Luís Araújo, President, Turismo de Portugal; Robin Rossmann, Managing Director, STR; Öznur Özdemir Özaltin, Chief Executive, Özaltin Holding (Tourism Group), Ozaltin Holding; and Tim Moonen, Manging Director, The Business of Cities.

Commenting on the forum’s host destination, Portugal, Guevara underlined that travel and tourism accounted for 17.3 percent of the country’s GDP in 2017 (USD38.0bn) and generates 1 in 5 of the country’s jobs.

According to Guevara, Europe is the largest and most mature tourism market in the world, with tourism generating 1.8 trillion euros to European economies and supporting 36.6 million jobs.

For further information on the event including how to attend, visit

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