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Big interview


Since 1956, Meliá Hotels International has grown from a humble family-led hospitality group into a global enterprise. The leading hotel company in Spain, Meliá is both a commercial success story and a sustainability giant in its own right. Will Moffi tt talks to the group’s vice- chairman and CEO, Gabriel Escarrer Jaume, about the unique challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, the importance of family values and the urgent need for global environmental action.


True to its roots F


rom his sun-filled office in Palma de Mallorca, Gabriel Escarrer Jaume looks out towards the Serra de Tramuntana, a craggy mountain range that forms the northern backbone of his native island. Spanning 90km of Balearic coastline, Tramuntana drops to pure blue sea in Banyalbufa and rises up to the tranquil village of Galilea some 460m above sea level at its tip. It’s a fitting view for a man overseeing a company that has risen from uniquely Spanish roots to become a global enterprise. As any local


12 Hotel Management International / www.hmi-online.com


mountaineer will tell you, however, there is a cautionary message here: stare too long at the summit and you miss the windy paths and jagged slopes that can trip you up along the way. Peaks and troughs, as Escarrer knows only too well, are inevitable in life and in business, especially when your company operates across 40 countries in four continents. Smart leadership in any capacity means anticipating these fluctuations before they arise. Sometimes, however, a crisis emerges that is completely unprecedented. After years of continual


Meliá Hotels International


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