With more than 50 years’ experience in the hotel sector, Rufino Calero has been recognised in the “Hostelco Awards 2018” in the lifetime achievement category. The prize recognises his contribution to tourism in Spain, with the awards looking to honour the best projects, products and professionals within the hospitality and restaurant sectors.
The award was received on behalf of Rufino Calero by Vincci Hoteles’ CEO, Carlos Calero, who explained how proud receiving the award made the president of the hotel chain, right at the moment that Vincci Hoteles has just celebrated its 17th anniversary and expanded its portfolio to the round figure of 40 hotels.
The CEO of the company dedicated part of his acceptance speech to the award winner, saying “to talk of Rufino Calero isn’t just to talk of Vincci Hoteles”, because he “belongs to a generation of entrepreneurs who in the 50s started, with little information, but with so much drive and hope, to lay the foundations so that today we are able to say that this industry is one of this country’s most important, if not the most important; a generation of tireless workers, who were able, with hardly any resources, to promote and make famous an entire tourist destination”. Carlos Calero explained that “one of the examples of this character and drive is Vincci Hoteles, a hotel chain founded by Rufino Calero when he was nearly 70, an age when logic would suggest thinking about retirement, but instead when he came up with the idea for a new hotel group, with a clear concept: a distinct, highly differentiated brand, with exclusively 4 and 5 star hotels, which are characterised by their high quality service, incredible location and the originality of each property, with each one having its own character.
A life dedicated to the hotel industry and tourism
Rufino Calero began his professional career in 1953 in Husa Hoteles, staying with the chain until 1958, the year in which he became Managing Director of the Hispanhotel chain. In 1961 he acquired his first hotel, in Zaragoza, the Hotel Gran Vía, the starting point of his entrepreneurial career. In 1965 he launched a new sector in the hotel industry, one that he considers highly rewarding, high mountain and snowsports hotels, running the Hotel Edelweis in Candanchú for four years. He was then sought out by Arturo Estrada to create the Hotel Division of what was the first Spanish tour operator, OTA, and by 1975 was running 15 hotels. He then founded the company Tryp Hotels together with Max Mazín and Antonio Briones, which by the year 2000 had 80 establishments around the world, with over 30,000 beds. In 2001, together with his children, he founded the Vincci Hoteles chain.