Hilton president and chief executive, Chris Nassetta, has been elected the next chairman of the World Travel & Tourism Council.

He will take over from current chairman Gerald Lawless following the WTTC’s annual meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on April 17 next year.

WTTC chairmen are elected for a two-year term.

Nassetta has been a member of WTTC’s executive committee since 2011 and vice chairman for North America since 2014.

He joined Hilton in 2007, bringing with him an extensive background in real estate and hospitality.

Since assuming the role of chief executive he has transformed the company, bringing Hilton hospitality to 27 new countries by adding 2,200 hotels to a network of more than 5,000 properties in 103 countries and territories.

Lawless said: “It has been an honour to serve as chairman of WTTC for the past two years and I am delighted to be handing over to Chris Nassetta to steer the Council into its next phase of development.

“I am sure that he and Gloria Guevara, WTTC’s president and CEO, will form a strong team to advocate for the economic and social benefits of travel and tourism.”

Nassetta said: “I believe the Council can play an important role to bring governments and the industry together to deliver smart plans that support both security and international travel.

“I also believe that the unique scale and reach of WTTC members can be used to tackle significant global issues, including climate change and global youth unemployment.

“A travel and tourism industry focused on these challenges can deliver great things for this generation and the next.”