U.S. President Barak Obama was the most expected speaker at the ongoing World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) summit in Seville today.
More than 1500 CEOs, association presidents, ministers of tourism, and heads of state were attending the summit, and hundreds of viewers from around the world were watching the live video stream of the summit, also announced by this publication. Many who saw the eTN announcement in Hawaii were up at 2:00 am in the morning to listen in.
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A loyal group of fans of the former president was in for a big disappointment when without prior warning the video live stream was stopped during the president’s address.
The feedback eTN received from people in the audience listening to Obama’s conversation was not really great. The money spent by WTTC to get some advice from the most popular head of state was disappointing.
There was no substance in the Presidents’ talk, was some feedback. His talk about his love for hiking when he was young was not relevant to the needs top executives were hoping to hear.
The challenges, needs of the second largest industry was not mentioned. There was no word about equality and dangers LGBT tourists face in countries like Brunei.
Mr. Obama talked about the advice he gave to his daughters: “Be kind, be useful.”
After the microphones and cameras were turned on again, moderator Nick Ross praised Obama as the most popular president in generations, saying “lack of power reveals.”
President Obama arrived in Seville at midnight before the event and spent the night at Hotel Alfonso XIII, drawing attention from local residents and the press. In 2016, a scheduled visit by Obama to the Andalusian capital was canceled due to a shooting in Dallas.
He visited Reales Alcázares, a UNESCO World Heritage site in the morning before returning to his hotel.
He left again at 2:00 pm for Palacio de Exposiciones y Congresos, which is hosting the international event on April 3 and 4.
After meeting privately with around 50 summit attendees, Obama delivered his short address to WTTC delegates.
After his speech, Obama was scheduled to meet with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez for around 20 minutes inside one of the center’s private rooms. It will be their second one-on-one after their meeting last year in Madrid.
Although this is Obama’s first trip to Seville, he has ties to the city because his daughter, Malia, lived there for a few months.