Los Angeles – February 8, 2023 — The International Society of Hospitality Consultants (ISHC) in partnership with the Americas Lodging Investment Summit (ALIS) presented Alejandro Zozaya, former Chairman of Apple Leisure Group, with the Pioneer Award which recognizes an individual annually who has made an outstanding contribution, achievement and/or improvement in the hospitality industry.

Todd Leach, ISHC chairman and partner of Dedica Group; and Kristie Dickinson, ISHC vice president and managing director/EVP of CHMWarnick presented Zozaya with the recognition during the conference plenary session. Leach remarked, “What sets Alex apart from others in our industry is his ability to see, anticipate, and adapt to changing forces in our marketplace. And as we’ve seen, he has a keen eye for spotting trends and a knack for identifying new opportunities for growth.”

Upon accepting the award, Zozaya noted, “Thank you all for being a part of this wonderful industry; the industry of tourism is the industry of opportunities. We’re not only able to generate millions of jobs all over the world, we create experiences, we create wonderful memories, but those jobs that we create, especially in those communities that otherwise wouldn’t have any chance to improve their quality of life, are for the vast majority young people and for women.  Women who are the leaders in this sector. So very proud to be one of the drivers of this segment.”

“I do believe strongly that this is a real industry of opportunities for anybody, and I am an example of that.” Zozoya said.

Zozaya also gave an update on his current philanthropic work with Amigos de Jesus, Honduras and Saving Our Sharks Foundation and commented “I encourage all of you, whatever you’re doing, whenever you have the opportunity, to give back, it’s really, really a great feeling to be able to drive a successful story and give back.”

Established in 1996, ISHC Pioneer Award winners are selected on a basis of three criteria: active involvement in the hospitality industry; contribution to the industry; and personal/organizational attributes and qualities adhering to professional standards recognized and respected by industry peers.

“What an honor to celebrate Alex Zozaya as this year’s ISHC Pioneer Award Winner – for his groundbreaking work in the hospitality industry. His leadership and visionary spirit have greatly impacted our industry, and we have no doubt that he will continue to be a driving force in shaping the future of hospitality for years to come,” remarked Todd Leach, Chairman of ISHC.

“Alex has been a pioneer in the all-inclusive space for more than two decades and has left an indelible mark on one of the fastest growing, most sought-after segments in the global lodging industry,” said Jeff Higley, President of The BHN Group. “His ambition, passion and extraordinary vision has earned Alex a well-deserved spot on the long list of industry icons that have received the Pioneer Award. It’s an honor for The BHN Group and the Americas Lodging Investment Summit to play a role in honoring this illustrious group of people who have helped shape the industry’s long-term success.”

Past recipients of the Pioneer Award include:

  • Peggy Berg (2022)
  • Marilyn Carlson Nelson (2020)
  • Jack DeBoer (2019)
  • Wing T. Chao (2018)
  • Ian Schrager (2017)
  • Lyndall DeMarco (2016)
  • Stephen Kaufer (2015)
  • Michael Bedner (2014)
  • Steve Rushmore (2013)
  • Chip Conley (2012)
  • Kathleen Taylor (2011)
  • Leland C. Pillsbury (2010)
  • J.W. Marriott (2009)
  • Jean Gabriel Peres (2008)
  • Stanley Selengut (2008)
  • Jean-Claude Baumgarten (2007)
  • James E. Burba (2007)
  • Stelios Haji-Ioannou (2006)
  • H.P. Rama (2006)
  • Costakis Loizou (2005)
  • Barry Sternlicht (2005)
  • Christel DeHaan (2004)
  • Regis Bulot (2004)
  • Bill Kimpton (2002)
  • Jonathan M. Tisch (2001)
  • Michael A. Leven (2000)
  • Jack Vaughn (1999)
  • George Johnson (1998)
  • Randell A. Smith (1997)