Published On: Thu, Apr 16th, 2015

More than 100 CEOs attending the WTTC Summit give back to Madrid

WTTClogo-456x148Tourism Cares and Madrid Destino hosted more than 100 CEOs and professionals for a volunteer project before World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) annual Global Summit.

More than 100 travel and tourism CEOs and professionals personally embraced giving back and sustainability by volunteering at two of Madrid’s top tourism destinations, El Retiro Park and Barrio de las Letras.

Held in advance of the April 15-16 Global Summit of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), the project allowed leaders of the global travel industry a chance to unite and give back to their Summit’s host city. The WTTC community, which holds sustainability as a central part of it mission, showed up en masse, oversubscribing the project and contributing approximately 750 man hours of labor.

The effort is especially timely given the spectacular and unforeseen discovery in March of the remains of Cervantes – an international literary figure and a national hero – at a convent in the literary tourism heart of Madrid and one of the project sites, the Barrio de las Letras.

“We’re excited to walk the walk today. Our goal in doing this was to engage, lead and give back to the beautiful city of Madrid, demonstrating the passion and leadership of so many in our industry.” said Brett Tollman, a WTTC Vice Chairman and CEO of The Travel Corporation. “Even as we discuss and plan for how our industry and our companies can be more sustainable, it’s rewarding to do so individually, and for our special host city, Madrid.”

Volunteers spent the day in El Retiro Park, a central gathering space and tourism icon which has recently received a preliminary listing as a Cultural Landscape on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Volunteers planted 2,500 ivy plants along the Paseo del Marques de Pontejos to enhance the landscape and improve the visitor experience, for tourists and locals alike.

In the afternoon, a group also worked in the Barrio de Las Letras, a district famous for bronze quotes cemented in the streets, from Cervantes, Luis de Góngora, Lope de Vega, Francisco de Quevedo, and other masters of Spain’s most beloved literature. It is one of the most photographed attractions in the city, which should be further cemented as visitors and literary pilgrims come to honor the newly found resting place of Cervantes, a 400 year-old mystery, at the Convent of the Barefoot Trinitarians. Volunteers worked alongside restoration experts to clean and repair bronze passages which have been worn by heavy foot traffic.

Tourism Cares would like to thank the sponsors who made the planning and production of the event possible for WTTC and the project sites: The Travel Corporation, MaCher, Tauck Ritzau Innovative Philanthropy and the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority. Special thanks also go to the staff at the World Travel & Tourism Council, Madrid Destino, Barrio de las Letras, Comunidad de Madrid and Ayuntamiento de Madrid.

“It is our honor to work with such fabulous partners to help the travel and tourism industry give back,” said Derek Hydon, Vice Chairman of Tourism Cares and President of MaCher. “Giving back is in our DNA – our job is to help channel that care to make a greater impact together.”