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Jean-Claude Baumgarten: A cooperation between travel industry and Academia is needed

Vicky Karantzavelou - 20 November 2012, 12:29

Jean-Claude Baumgarten, immediate past president of the World Travel & Tourism Council and Chairman & MD of Crewe Associates talks to TravelDailyNews about the connection of Academia with the travel industry on the occasion of his honorary doctorate from Bournemouth University.

We are in World Travel Market 2012 with Dr Jean-Claude Baumgarten. Yesterday you've got your honorary doctorate from Bournemouth University, what is the potential of the cooperation between Academia and the private sector?


Jean-Claude BaumgartenBorn in Strasbourg in May 1942, Jean-Claude Baumgarten graduated from the French business school, l’Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales. On graduating, he assumed the position of Vice President for Becco (the French confectioners) and was then later responsible for sales of US mutual funds in Africa.

In 1970, Jean-Claude joined Air France as assistant Regional Manager in Los Angeles and New York and was appointed Regional Manager in Osaka for West Japan in 1974. He became Regional Manager for Thailand and Burma, as well as Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, in 1978. Jean-Claude was appointed to the position of General Manager for Japan in 1982 and was at the same time Chairman of the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

In September 1986, he became Vice President and General Manager for the United States, where he was responsible for all the company’s activities throughout the USA, as well as in the Bahamas, the Virgin Islands and French Polynesia. In June 1990 he was appointed Vice President and General Manager for France.

From June 1992 to August 1993 Jean-Claude was Executive Vice President for GMF, a leading French insurance company. He rejoined Air France in September 1993 as Vice President for the Americas and Asia.

In November 1993 he was promoted to Executive Vice President of Commercial Operations and a Member of the Executive and Strategic Committee. In February 1996 he became Executive Vice President of Corporate, International & Industry Affairs. From December 1997 until July 1998, prior to leaving Air France, he held the position of Advisor to the Chairman.

After his departure, Jean-Claude established a company in New York with American investors under the name of CREWE Associates. This involved consultancy work and start-up advice for new businesses.

In October 1999 he was appointed President and CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council, where he proved highly resourceful and influential, notably when he launched the world tourism summits to re-focus the tourism industry after the turmoil caused by 9/11.

Whilst working for Air France, Jean-Claude helped developed the non-stop Siberian route from Paris to Japan instead of the staged flight through Anchorage, thus saving $200,000 per flight and 12 hours on the round trip.

In complete contrast he worked with the United Nations and Red Cross when floods of Camobian refugees fled to Thailand in the 1970s. He was able to help 1000’s of refugees get authorisation to be sent to the United States, France and Vienna. He once unknowingly allowed a heavily pregnant refugee on one of the planes out of Thailand. The woman ended up giving birth during the flight and Jean-Claude was able to get her and her son French Citizenship.

Jean-Claude Baumgarten has received many awards for his achievements and contribution to air transport and tourism. He is a Chevalier dans l’Ordre National de la Légion d’Honneur, as well as an Officier de l’Ordre National du Merite and a Chevalier des Arts et Lettres. He was presented with the Gold Medal for Tourism by the Portuguese Government in 2004 and 2008 and the Anita Garibaldi Gold Medal by the Government of Santa Catarina in 2009. He has also received an honorary doctorae from the University of Buffalo, USA.

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