One of the featured guest speakers at this year’s virtual Virtuoso Travel Week is Gloria Guevara Manzo, the president and CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council. In recent weeks, the WTTC has worked to establish its Safe Travels stamp, a universal set of safety protocols for travel and hospitality companies around the globe. As the global travel industry reels from the coronavirus pandemic, Manzo and the WTTC have been at the forefront, advocating for the importance of the travel industry and its contributions to the global economy. We’re looking forward to hearing Manzo speak at Virtuoso Travel Week. We caught up with her late last year, when she took part in our regular Point of View interview series. The topic: The Gift of Travel. See her insight below.
“The gift of travel is knowledge. Before the World Travel and Tourism Council, I was president of the Mexico tourism board for three years. That was right after the outbreak of H1N1, the financial and economic crisis in the U.S., and security challenges, when a lot of people stopped traveling. It had a huge impact on travel to Mexico. Part of my job was to try to reset the tone and put things in context, to explain that Mexico was a big country and we could not paint it with just one brush – no more than you can paint the U.S. with just one brush. The more you travel, the more you open your mind and learn.
Professionally speaking, travel can be a force for good. It has provided me with opportunities to meet people that I never would have otherwise. It creates empathy and understanding, which are both always needed in the world. We jump to conclusions too fast without putting ourselves in the shoes of the others. I’m from Guadalajara, but I grew up all over Mexico. My parents made it a point to travel all over the country. I learned to appreciate different traditions and have empathy. Now that I have children, some of the best memories we have are from when we travel together. It gives them a better appreciation of other people and other nationalities, whether we’re in Dubai or Hong Kong or the U.S., as well as a better appreciation for nature and sustainable tourism. Seeing the migration of the monarch butterflies, for example, or the whales in Baja, connects them with nature and helps them understand how delicate it is.” – Interview by Adam Erace
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