Gerald Lawless

World Travel & Tourism Council

Gerald Lawless started his career with Forte Hotels which culminated in him setting up and growing Forte’s operations in the Middle East.

After a 23-year career with Forte Hotels, he joined Jumeirah in 1997 and helped establish it as one of the premier luxury hotel brands in the world. Taking on the challenge of launching Burj Al Arab, the world’s most luxurious hotel, after the successful introduction of Jumeirah Beach Hotel to an eager travelling public, Mr. Lawless went on to become President and Group Chief Executive Officer of the Jumeirah Group.
● At the beginning of 2016, having served for 18 years at the helm of the Jumeirah Group, Mr. Lawless assumed a new leadership position responsible for tourism and hospitality in Dubai Holding, the Group’s parent company. During this period he served as Chairman of the World Travel and Tourism Council. He has now retired from these roles and continues to reside in Dubai.

Mr. Lawless is a Graduate of Shannon College of Hotel Management in Ireland and holds the following Honorary Degrees:
● Doctor of Business Administration in Hospitality Management at the Johnson & Wales University, State of Rhode Island, USA;
● Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws at the National University of Ireland, Galway;
● Honorary Doctorate at the Middlesex University Dubai.

He served as a member of the Global Agenda Council on the Future of Mobility with the World Economic Forum. He is a fellow member of the Institute of Hospitality; and a member of the International Advisory Board of the Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne. Recipient of the 2017 Presidential Distinguished Service Award for the Irish Abroad.

During his 45 year career he has worked in the following locations: Galway,  Geneva, Southampton, Swindon, Glasgow, Dubai 1978 to 1982, Durban, London, Bahrain, Dublin, and Dubai again since 1991.

He has been responsible for the development of hotels in various regions and has visited many cities within these countries and regions including North Africa, virtually all countries of the Middle East, the CIS and Asian countries such as Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Thailand, Cambodia. He has participated in UAE trade delegations to China where he has negotiated
management agreements for over 8 hotels. He has also been responsible for the Caribbean division of Forte hotels in Bermuda, Jamaica, Bahamas, Barbados and Guyana.

In his capacity as Chairman of the World Travel and Tourism Council 2016 to 2018, he has addressed conferences throughout the world. He has also attended the Annual World Economic Forum in Davos on nine occasions. He has been a member of the Farmleigh Forum and the Advisory Board of the Global Irish Network.