Gerard “Jerry” Inzerillo, CEO of Saudi Arabia’s Diriyah Gate Development Authority (DGDA), and Vice-Chairman of Forbes Travel Guide, has been voted “Corporate Hotelier of the World” by the readers and subscribers of HOTELS Magazine in their prestigious annual awards.
The highly-distinguished accolade, considered the “Academy Award of Hospitality,” is reserved for the true greats of the hotel sector, having previously been bestowed upon giants in the field of hospitality including J. Willard Marriott, Jr. of Marriott Hotels, M.S. Oberoi of Oberoi Hotels, Isadore Sharp – Founder & Chairman of Four Seasons Hotels and Horst Schulze of Ritz Carlton Hotels.
The “Hotelier of the World” award recognises individuals whose careers and accomplishments demonstrate unparalleled standards of service, operational excellence and performance, creativity in management, and legacies for the greater good of the global hotel business. Jerry Inzerillo’s historic win marks the first time in its 41-year history that HOTELS’ “Hotelier of the World” has been awarded to someone who is not currently leading a global hotel company, but who has exhibited all of the winning criteria throughout their career.
Across his esteemed five-decade career—which began as a busboy at the age of 13– Inzerillo has been a stalwart champion for the sector and its people. From CEO of Forbes Travel Guide to President of Kerzner Entertainment Group and CEO of Morgan’s Hotel Group, to now leading the transformation of the world’s most iconic tourism destination, Diriyah, in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Jerry Inzerillo has innovated and excelled his entire professional working life.
On being named “Corporate Hotelier of the World,” Inzerillo said: “I am incredibly humbled and honoured to receive this recognition and to sit alongside the true greats of our wonderful industry. For me, service is a noble calling as there is no greater honour than making people feel welcome, no matter who they are, or where they are from. I want to dedicate this award to those on the ground of this industry – the busboys, the valets, the trainee chefs, the concierges, the housekeepers, and all those who work hard every day behind the scenes to make us feel at home. This past year has been an unprecedented challenge for our sector, and it is those individuals who have dug deep in these uncertain times to set us on the road to recovery as we emerge from the pandemic.
“As we look at this historic time for tourism and hospitality in Saudi Arabia, with the world’s leading hotel brands signed to operate luxury and ultra-luxury properties here, this accolade highlights the Kingdom´s commitment to tourism actively welcoming everyone from around the world.”
Jeff Weinstein, Editor of HOTELS magazine, said: “Jerry Inzerillo is a hugely deserving winner of “Corporate Hotelier of the World.” The fact he has done so, despite not being a current hotel operator, only speaks to Jerry’s incredible abilities and singular impact on the community he has served now for over five decades, and demonstrates the respect he commands from our industry. No one has more passion and feel for hospitality than Jerry, which is obvious to the many individuals he has supported and inspired in his five-decade career. Jerry is simply an incredible ambassador for the global hospitality industry, and we are honoured to name him ‘Corporate Hotelier of the World’.”
In his personal life, Inzerillo has long been involved with philanthropy and is the proud recipient of a host of awards and distinctions, including of “CEO of the Year in Tourism” award, and the “Tourism for Peace Award” from the World Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (WANGO), which was given in recognition of his unique contributions to world peace through travel and tourism.