Chief Special Advisor
Ministry of Tourism - Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Gloria joined the Ministry of Tourism of Saudi Arabia in May 2021 to support the impressive transformation that is part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.
In September 2019, Saudi Arabia launched its international e-visa, resulting in 14% growth in tourism’s contribution to national GDP – making it the top performer worldwide. The Kingdom aims to become a top 5 global destination and to create 1 million jobs by 2030. Gloria’s years of experience in the public and private sectors will contribute to such important objectives.
Prior to this, she was the President & CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) – the global body representing travel and tourism – a sector that generates 10% of global GDP and supports more than 300 million jobs worldwide.
Gloria became the global voice of the sector during its most difficult crisis in history – the COVID-19 pandemic. Under her leadership, the Council led the industry agenda, unified the sector, and implemented measures to reduce the impact of the crisis, such as the creation of global protocols for Safe Travels and a stamp that was granted to over 400 destinations around the world. The Council engaged actively with more than 150 governments to share best practices and public policies to support workers and the private sector, including millions of SMEs, as well as to provide guidance and lessons learned for a strong recovery.
At WTTC, Gloria achieved other important milestones, including defining the Council and its Members’ climate and environment agenda in partnership with UNFCCC, UNEP and HSPH. To bring the sector’s leadership together, she successfully hosted important events such as the first Global Climate and Environment Action Forum, numerous Regional Leaders’ Forums and WTTC Global Summits all over the world. Notable attendees include former Presidents Obama, Calderon, Santos, and Aznar, as well as Heads of State such as Pedro Sanchez and Mauricio Macri.
Shortly before her departure, WTTC hosted the first global in-person gathering after the pandemic in Cancun, Mexico. The event was a great success and contributed to the safe reopening of international travel.
Gloria’s career in the travel industry began in 1995 at the Sabre Travel Network and Sabre Holdings, where she became CEO of JV Sabre Mexico reporting to a board of directors from Aeromexico, Mexicana, and Sabre Holdings.
In March 2010, President Calderon appointed her as Minister of Tourism and after only two weeks, she was given full responsibility of the Mexico Tourism Board. Under her leadership the “National Agreement for Tourism” in Mexico was created in 2011, and for the first time, “the importance of Travel & Tourism” was included in the G20 Leaders’ Declaration in Los Cabos.
Gloria received the Good Neighbour Award from the US-Mexico Chamber of Commerce and Mexico’s Tourism Board was recognized by Virtuoso as the best tourism board in the world thanks to her successful branding and repositioning efforts. She has also received multiple recognitions from academia and the private sector, including CNET (Mexico’s National Tourism Business Council).
In addition, Gloria was Special Advisor on Government Affairs to Harvard University’s School of Public Health, and part of the Future for Travel, Tourism and Aviation Global Agenda Council of the World Economic Forum (WEF). She was recognized as one of the most influential women in Mexico by CNN, Forbes, and Expansion.
She holds a BS in Computer Science from Anahuac University and an MBA from Kellogg School of Business, Northwestern University.
Gloria sits on the board of American Express Global Business Travel, was also formerly on the boards of HSBC Mexico, Playa Hotels & Resorts and other important organizations.