Former VisitBritain chairman Christopher Rodrigues and ex-Tui chief executive Michael Frenzel are among a group of industry leaders named as part of new ambassador scheme to extend the World Travel & Tourism Council’s reach at regional level.

Others selected as WTTC ambassadors include former Jumeriah chief executive Gerald Lawless, ex-WTTC president and chief executive Jean-Claude Baumgarten and former Marriott public affairs officer Kathleen Matthews.

They will work to expand the WTTC’s “presence, voice and influence” in key markets.

The ambassadors have been chosen as global travel industry leaders with proven records of success in key markets.

They have been selected by WTTC chairman and Hilton boss Christopher Nassetta and WTTC president and chief executive, Hilton, and Gloria Guevara.

Rodrigues, currently chairman of the British Council, said: “Travel brings delight to billions of people and makes the cultural connections that lead to better understanding between peoples and nations.

“I am delighted to become a WTTC ambassador working to support a growing sustainable industry.”

Lawless, immediate past chairman of WTTC, said: “This organisation is in the forefront of connecting the travel and tourism industry with governments around the world. Its members represent the private sector leadership at the highest levels.

“Through its frequent quality research, the WTTC has clearly demonstrated the value of travel and tourism to society and to the global economy.”