Gabriel Escarrer Julià, Chairman and founder of Meliá Hotels International, received a Lifetime Achievement award on Friday at the European Hospitality Awards in London, the most important award of the evening, in recognition of his successful career.
Escarrer was selected by the British magazine "Hotel Management International" for the awards ceremony to honour leading figures in the European hotel industry. Escarrer accepted the award in person at the ceremony held yesterday at the Landmark Hotel in London, attended by numerous industry leaders, and delivered a few moving words of gratitude to his extended family, the team of 35,000 people that form part of his company today.
Gabriel Escarrer opened his first hotel in Mallorca in 1956, taking advantage of the boom in tourism in Spain in the 1960s to create wealth and jobs. Almost 56 years later, the company he founded has managed to become the first Spanish hotel company to operate in key markets such as China, the Persian Gulf or the United States, while maintaining its clear leadership in Spain and Latin America. Meliá Hotels International, with more than 350 hotels in 35 countries, continues to share the vision of its founder, backed by a family with strong corporate values that support a company focused on service excellence.
The important contribution of Gabriel Escarrer to the travel industry has been recognized on numerous occasions: Doctor Honoris Causa at the University of the Balearic Islands,"Best Entrepreneur in Construction and Real Estate" (by the Master in Administration of Construction and Real Estate Enterprises and Actualidad Económica magazine),"Hotelier of the Year" (by the U.S. magazine Hotels), a Lifetime Achievement Award (from the International Hotel Investment Forum), amongst others. In 2001 Escarrer was also selected to join the exclusive "Hall of Fame" of the British Travel Industry, and in 2006, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the company, the Balearic Islands Medal, the highest accolade of the Autonomous Region, in recognition of his work.