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"It's all about Passion" was the theme of the EHMA General Assembly in Lugano

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"It's all about Passion". The theme of passion dominated EHMA 48th Annual General Meeting in Lugano, Switzerland. Passion motivates our lives and is the key driver of the hospitality industry, as highlighted by influential speakers. 

The motto "It's all about Passion!" was the fil rouge that linked the exciting program prepared for the group of General Managers of the most prestigious European hotels who gathered in Lugano from March 18 to 20 on the occasion of the annual General Assembly of the EHMA. Exceptional testimonials talked about how passion has determined their private and professional life. A panel with CEOs of major Hotel Groups closed the Day on a high note.

During the meeting Panos Almyrantis, GM of the Grand Hyatt Athens and National Delegate EHMA Greece & Cyprus since 2019, was elected President of the Association for a three-year term, from 2022 to 2024. Three prestigious awards were presented during the closing gala dinner: Guilherme A. Costa, General Manager of the Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon, was elected European Hotel Manager of the Year 2022; Markos Tzamalis, COO of Phāea Resorts was the winner of the EHMA Sustainability Award by Diversey 2022 for the group's Cretan Malia Park Hotel in Crete, and Peter Bierwirth, B&K Hotel Management, received the Hans Koch Lifetime Achievement Award 2022.

EHMA wants to inspire new talents to enter a profession in the hospitality industry and collaborates with leading international hotel schools. In conjunction with the General Assembly, Ian Millar, Senior Lecturer Hospitality Technology Strategy at École Hôtelière de Lausanne, led an educational session dedicated to the "Young EHMA group 2022", a project designed for deserving young employees from EHMA members’ hotels to attend the annual conference.

During the Assembly, President Indiani announced EHMA's new website www.ehma.com, which has been completely revamped by Ingenia Direct.

In closing, President Jens Zimmer-Christensen addressed the audience on the latest news of HOTREC. This was followed by Marco Truffelli who together with Dr. Jan Ferris presented "Psychological Fitness and Resilience in Hospitality".

The Educational Day on March 19 focused on the theme "Passion." Miranda Sorgente, CEO and Master Coach of Love Management, focused on "Leading by Heart" and urged attendees to find their passion, be their true selves, then share it and not be afraid of the future because passion pushes us beyond the line of fear.

Through a live holographic call, Sandro Formica, professor, founder of Self-Science and the Chief Happiness Officer certification program based in Miami, USA, on the topic "Passion: Your Inner Driving Force," was able to teach the audience how to generate long-term, sustainable productivity and well-being using purpose and happiness.

Luigi Mazzola's incredible experience as an engineer for the Ferrari Formula One Team who helped win 14 world championships, made his presentation "Passion: the Very Secret of Greatest Drivers" truly impressive. Along with passion, he listed the elements needed to win: expertise, continuous innovation, discipline, proactivity, teamwork and team identity.

Having reached as a free-diver the incredible depth of 490 feet underwater, thus setting a world record, Umberto Pelizzari can truly say that "Impossible is an Opinion." He emphasized the importance of passion, sacrifice, determination, perseverance and teamwork. His underwater videos were breathtaking.

Frank Theis, CRO of Diversey spoke about “Making Sustainability Sustainable, from Passion to Action”. The examples he presented were truly impressive: from “Soap for Hope”, soap bars made by Cambodian villagers out of soap waste from hotels, now available in 188 cities across 45 countries, to “Coffee Briques”, an upcycling program processing used coffee to cheap source of fuel.

It is precisely from her passions and from an innate need for freedom that Simona Atzori began a progressive path of overcoming her limits, doing it in a special way, using what she has, two feet and a smile. With perseverance and tenacity, today she has become an elegant and famous dancer as well as a painter. She incredibly moved the audience by telling her story and how she learned not to define herself by what she lacks, but instead make it her true strength.

"Emotions: a rational approach to irrational reactions" was the theme of the speech by Cosimo Finzi, CEO of AstraRicerche, who explained how to measure emotions and how to make them more effective.

A panel composed of Shannon Knapp, President & CEO The Leading Hotels of the World; Roland Fasel, COO Aman Resorts; Jan Brucker, Managing Director Swiss Deluxe Hotels; and Antonello Dé Medici, Director of Operations Rocco Forte Hotels, discussed passion in the hospitality industry and closed the Educational Day. They agreed that one of the biggest challenges is how to inspire teams and attract the next generation, as there is a labor shortage right now. They felt that after the pandemic, the employee relations book needs to be rewritten and new work formats found if we are to attract new talent or convince staff to return. The need to maintain values, purpose, and communication by looking beyond the short term, with the help of flexibility, out-of-the-box thinking, and digital transformation was emphasized. In conclusion, these Hotel Groups have seen neither a slowdown in bookings from the U.S. to Europe and within Europe nor a spike in cancellations during these dramatic times, but the future is not predictable.

The event was perfectly organized by a Committee composed of Giuseppe Rossi (Chairman and GM Hotel Splendide Royal); Massimiliano Ferrara (RM Grand Hotel Villa Castagnola); Carlo Fontana (GM Hotel LuganoDante Center); Barbara Gibellini (GM Villa Principe Leopoldo); Andrea Modesti (GM Swiss Diamond Hotel); Raimondo C. Sartorio (MD Parco San Marco Hotels & Beach Resort). With the precious support of Ivan Zorloni (GM Grand Hotel Villa Castagnola); Lorenzo Pianezzi (President HotellerieSuisse Ticino); Antonella Archidiacono (Sales&Marketing Manager Grand Hotel Villa Castagnola); Emanuele Di Pasquale (Sales&Marketing Manager Hotel Splendide Royal).

The host hotels in Lugano were: Hotel Splendide Royal, Grand Hotel Villa Castagnola, Villa Principe Leopoldo, LuganoDante, Swiss Diamond Hotel.

A land to discover
Known throughout Switzerland as the Swiss Riviera, Canton Ticino is the southernmost and sunniest part of the Swiss Confederation. Lugano, in particular, combines a lush nature with a touristic attitude. The EHMA General Assembly was also an excellent opportunity to discover Lugano, its historic center just a few steps from the LAC, dotted with squares and arcades, and its elegant lakefront framed by mountains. The gastronomy of Ticino, as well as the world of wine, offer real gems that are worth exploring. The LAC itself offers the possibility of numerous experiences in the field of art and culture.

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