CAIRO, Egypt - The Board of Directors of the International Hotel & Restaurant Association (IH&RA) has announced the election of John Bell, former Director General and CEO of the Caribbean Hotel Association (CHA), to the global association`s Presidency. The appointment took place at the IH&RA General Assembly during the organization`s 40th Annual Congress, held in Cairo, Egypt. “John Bell is a hospitality industry executive of international renown who put the Caribbean hospitality industry on the map while at the leadership of CHA,” stated IH&RA Chief Executive Officer, Alain-Philippe Feutré. “His proven expertise will greatly benefit IH&RA.”
As IH&RA President, John Bell will serve at the helm of the only global trade association representing the hospitality industry worldwide. IH&RA members include national hotel and restaurant associations in some 100 countries throughout the world and international and national hotel and restaurant chains representing some 50 brands. His term is for one year. “John Bell`s appointment underscores the position of leadership that the Caribbean hospitality industry enjoys internationally,” added CHA President Simón B. Suárez. “CHA looks forward to becoming increasingly more engaged with our partners worldwide to address common issues.”
As the CEO of the Caribbean Hotel Association for 28 years, Bell successfully managed and led an association that represents 35 countries of the Caribbean region - a microcosm of the diverse international membership of IH&RA. Bell first joined CHA in 1974 when he was appointed the first executive director for CHA and chairman of the Small Hotels Advisory Council. Over the course of the next three decades, he led the evolution of CHA from a traditional trade association to a developmental agency for the Caribbean region`s tourism private sector. He has a proven track record as both the leader of CHA and a long-standing IH&RA Board member for aggressively defending the interests of the hospitality industry before international policy making agencies. “I am confident that as IH&RA President, John will be a catalyst in our efforts to defend and protect the interests of the hotel and restaurant industry worldwide, especially during the current challenging times,” concluded Feutré.
John Bell`s presidency marks the first time in the 55-year history of IH&RA that a chief executive of a national association will serve as President of the organization. In the past, and according to the former IH&RA statutes revised in 2002, only an executive of an international or national hotel or restaurant chain could serve as the IH&RA President. John Bell`s Presidency will usher in a new era where national association chief executives are eligible to steer the focus of IH&RA. This is crucial because these national association chief executives (known as IH&RA “NACE” members) represent international and national hotel and restaurant chains, as well as independent hoteliers and other members of the hospitality sector in their respective countries. Through these NACE members, IH&RA truly reaches the grass roots of the hospitality sector worldwide.
The International Hotel & Restaurant Association (IH&RA) is the only global business organisation representing the hospitality industry worldwide. Its members are national hotel and restaurant associations throughout the world, and international and national hotel and restaurant chains representing some 50 brands. Officially recognised by the United Nations, IH&RA monitors and lobbies all international agencies on behalf of this industry, estimated to comprise 300,000 hotels and 8 million restaurants, employ 60 million people and contribute 950 billion USD annually to the global economy.