The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) is all set to host its highly anticipated 23rd Global Summit in Kigali, Rwanda, from November 1-3, marking a significant milestone as the organization’s first summit on the African continent.
This event promises to be a powerhouse of knowledge and inspiration, with the theme “Building Bridges to a Sustainable Future,” emphasizing the travel and tourism sector’s impact beyond revenue, focusing on its influence on the planet and global communities.
Didier Drogba, the Ivorian footballing legend and one of the greatest African football players in history, is one of the distinguished speakers set to grace the stage. Drogba, the all-time top scorer and former captain of the Ivory Coast national team, will share his journey growing up in West Africa and his unwavering commitment to social progress. His story continues to inspire and change lives, even after his retirement from professional football. Earlier, UNWTO and the Didier Drogba Foundation have teamed up to highlight the potential of African youth and ensure that both tourism and sport deliver on their potential to provide opportunities for all.
The WTTC also announced that the summit will feature prominent global leaders, including three Heads of State and a Vice-President, offering diverse perspectives and insights. Other keynote speakers lined up for the event include Justin Urquhart-Stewart, a global economist and renowned business commentator; David P. Pekoske, Administrator of the United States Transport Security Administration; and Juliet Slot, Chief Commercial Officer at Arsenal Football Club.
The lineup also boasts influential figures from the African continent, including Francis Gatare, CEO of the Rwanda Development Board, and Yvonne Makolo, CEO of Rwandair and Chair of the Board of Governors of the International Air Transport Association (IATA). Makolo is notably the first woman to take on this prestigious role.
WTTC’s own leadership will be well represented, with speakers such as Arnold Donald, WTTC Chair; Greg O’Hara, Founder and Managing Partner of Certares; Gloria Fluxa, Vice Chairman and Chief Sustainability Officer at Iberostar; Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio, Chairman of Heritage Group and co-chair of Abercrombie and Kent; Julie Shainock, Global Managing Director for Travel, Transport Logistics and Hospitality at Microsoft; and Matthew Upchurch, President & CEO of Virtuoso.
Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO, expressed her enthusiasm for the event: “We are delighted to have such influential figures joining us in Kigali next week. Rwanda’s commitment to rejuvenating the travel and tourism sector, particularly after such challenging times, is truly commendable. The country’s rapid growth positions it as an emerging tourism hotspot.”
The summit will serve as a global platform for industry leaders and international government officials to align efforts, support the sector’s recovery, and tackle future challenges to ensure a safer, more resilient, inclusive, and sustainable Travel & Tourism sector.
Prominent government dignitaries, including South Africa’s Tourism Minister, Hon. Patricia de Lille; Tanzania’s Minister of Natural Resources & Tourism, Hon. Angellah Jasmine Mbelwa Kairuki; and Ukraine’s Tourism Development Chairperson, Hon. Mariana Oleskiv, will also be in attendance, adding to the event’s stature and global relevance.