Time goes fast, and the first few months of my presidency have gone very quickly indeed. During this time, together with first vicepresident Verena Fostinger and second vice-president Panos Almyrantis, I have started to work on many projects, which we presented to the management council in Vienna on 6 July for final approval, with the aim of starting implementation at the end of July. The main objective we have ahead of us will be creating a strong management council with shared vision and values, and a clear idea of objectives to be achieved.

First off, we have started a project to sustain the environment by promoting a series of ideas and actions to reduce the use of plastics inside EHMA hotels, and we have companies on board that are producing eco products to replace plastic. It is a lengthy exercise, but we are dedicated to reducing plastic use 80% by December 2021. We will also implement, at a local level but with a general guideline, other activities to preserve the environment.

The ‘mentor me’ project was also presented to the management council, and we should be able to implement it in all chapters by September or October this year. In Italy alone, over 40 young future managers have been involved in the mentoring project, with great results for mentee and mentor alike.

We are also preparing an extensive revised presentation of EHMA for future candidates and the press. This document will explain the importance of being part of our association, and the benefits and prestige that members enjoy – we are a network of over 400 members, all with great experience to be shared. Hopefully we will be able to circulate this document by the fourth quarter of this year.

Help is always at hand

EHMA members can also count on the support of an extra 400 colleagues around Europe – fellow members, like an extended family, are eager to offer help in cities in which your own company is not present. We believe EHMA to be the sky, and every member is a shining star.

I also hope to enhance the value that EHMA has in the fields of teaching and development in every country in which it is present. EHMA is an incredibly powerful provider of training and is crucial to the creation of talented professionals for the hotel industry.

In the same vein, we are also striving to make clear the importance of hotel general managers, and Intertek will be launching a certification of the roll in continental Europe, and globally, in the second and third quarter of the year. The certification follows the EHMA protocol written in an international common workshop agreement, so this protocol is now an international standard that has the support of UNI, CEN and Accredia (the accreditation body). This partnership with Intertek is a new instrument in helping to revalue and champion the importance of hotel general managers. Already, over 25 general managers have been certified – this is a great achievement for our association.

EHMA is also conscious of trends that are changing the world of travel. For instance, we are debating and working on the effects Brexit. The possible exit of the UK from the EU will create many new business opportunities in continental Europe. We have seen that cities such as Paris, Milan, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Madrid and others are gaining a considerable amount of business from relocation of offices from the UK, in particular from the banking and insurance sectors. EHMA general managers are conscious of and buoyed by all this possible business. The general managers of the UK, meanwhile, are considering what effects Brexit will have on travellers, the labour market and possible import duty in case of a hard Brexit.

Of course, we will work closely with all general managers concerned to facilitate anything that is within our possibilities. The network will play an important role, and we hope that all EHMA stars continue to shine bright.