World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) president and chief executive David Scowsill has announced he is to stand down after more than six years as head of the industry advocacy body.

Scowsill revealed his departure ahead of the opening of the WTTC Global Summit in Bangkok on Wednesday.

He said: “It has been a privilege to lead WTTC, representing the global interests of the private sector of travel and tourism.

“The membership of the organisation has doubled, but more significant has been the work with governments at all levels on the key strategic issues for the sector.

“We have consolidated the position of WTTC as the authority in the sector.”

Scowsill’s period as president and chief executive included 84 meetings with presidents and prime ministers around the world.

It also saw the organisation engage in extensive cooperation with the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), whose secretary general Taleb Rifai will also step down at the end of this year.

The two global bodies had previously often acted as rivals. But together Scowsill and Rifai developed a globe-trotting double act as advocates of the benefits of tourism to governments.

WTTC chairman Gerald Lawless said: “The executive committee thanks David for his service and is appreciative of the contributions he has made to the mission, growth and success of the sector over the past six years.

“Under his leadership and vision, WTTC is positioned as the private sector authority on travel and tourism.

“It will be business as usual during this transition period as the executive committee works to identify a successor.”

Scowsill joined the WTTC in October 2010 following a carrier in the travel industry which included senior roles at British Airways, Manchester Airport, easyJet, Opodo and Hilton.

He is expected to remain in the travel industry in one or more non-executive roles.