Regarded as one of the most important players on the international trade arena, the International Hotel & Restaurant Association is also one of the largest organizations, comprised of 8 million restaurants and 300,000 hotels, employing more than 60 million people and contributing nearly $950 billion annually to the global economy.
Headquartered in Paris, France, the members of the Association include international and national restaurant and hotel chains representing 50 brands, and national restaurant and hotel associations in more than 100 countries worldwide. The International Hotel Association is also open to affiliate members, including independent or chain-affiliated restaurant and hotel chains. Among allied members of the organization are educational institutions, industry supporters and suppliers, and complementary tourism, travel and hospitality associations.
Over the years, the International Hotel Association has adhered to its founding principles and objectives, namely to protect its members' interests by: ensuring flexibility of working conditions; opposing redundant and costly standards and regulations; protecting its members' interests on the International Hotel Classification; battling trademark violations; and fighting increased copyright licensing fees. The organization is also dedicated to promoting other initiatives, like sustainable development of tourism via the International Hotel & Restaurant Association Annual Environmental Award with UNEP; launching World Heritage Site Hotel Programme; ensuring safety in the workplace; significant contribution to Hospitality Statistics and Research; published the joint Report on Hotel Classification; and serving as Expert Advisor to countries on Hotel Classification Systems.
Being a non-profit membership-driven organization, the International Hotel Association works through a number of Councils, focusing its members' expertise on issues of vital importance to both members and to the industry in general. These councils, including the National Association Chief Executives Council, Chains Council and Global Councils, set priorities and make recommendations to the main executive body of the International Hotel Association - the Board of Directors.
The body meets three times a year: twice in stand-alone meetings and once in conjunction with the Annual Congress. It makes recommendations to the supervisory organ of the Association - the General Assembly, which meets annually to discuss management and activities of the organization and elect its President and Vice-Presidents forming the Board of Directors. The General Assembly is also responsible for approval and dismissal of members.
Throughout its history, the International Hotel Association has launched a number of programs, aimed at protecting the interests of its members and assisting new associations to be formed. Some of these projects include International Worker Exchanges, Youth at Risk and Foundation for the Future among others.