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Les Roches creates a Foundation to drive research and improvement in the hospitality industry

Les Roches, a leading institution in hospitality management education, has created the Spark X Foundation, a non-profit organisation that will promote innovation, technology and sustainability to improve both customer and employee experiences.

Committed to inclusion, diversity, and a positive and lasting social impact, the Foundation will base its mission on digital culture, sustainable development, acquiring new skills and creating new opportunities.

Spark X Foundation will have two collegiate bodies: the ESG Advisory Board, composed of representatives from tourist destinations, associations and federations; and the Strategy Advisory Board, made up of renowned professionals in different fields.

Their work will enable collaboration and knowledge exchange between the industry, administration and the educational community, fostering joint projects, business opportunities and strategic alliances.

Moreover, the Spark X Universe network, composed of customer service organisers, industrial solution providers, academic institutions, public organisations and associations, will lead solutions suitable for implementation in the industry.

Carlos Díez de la Lastra, CEO of Les Roches and President of Spark X Foundation, said:

“Hospitality needs to stay ahead to remain the primary economic source it is and to thrive in a constantly changing environment. With Spark X Foundation, we aim to create a meeting point where we can support and nurture new talent with the expertise offered by great industry leaders and the international business sector. Only through the union of all hospitality actors, debate and interaction with innovation, will it be possible to elevate the overall experience of both the customer and the employee to the highest level.”

Spark X Foundation is part of Sommet Education, the prestigious hospitality education ecosystem that includes renowned institutions such as Les Roches, Glion Institute of Higher Education, École Ducasse, Invictus Education, and the Indian School of Hospitality.


Equal opportunities and economic growth

Spark X Foundation will operate in four key areas:


  • Society: Advocacy for equal opportunities in the sector, regardless of personal circumstances, and democratise access to education through scholarships and training programs.
  • Planet: Development of innovative solutions to minimise the environmental impact of the tourism industry through education based on environmental awareness, the use of clean technologies, and the adoption of sustainable management practices.
  • Industry: Bringing together different sector players to promote the exchange of ideas and dialogue on challenges, opportunities and critical issues.
  • Cooperation: Collaboration with professionals, companies and institutions worldwide to tackle global problems and promote intercultural understanding, peace and international cooperation.

Three innovation spaces

Spark X Foundation will be distributed across three interconnected spaces dedicated to the search and transfer of knowledge, interaction and collaboration in idea development:


  • Innovation Hub: Representatives of federations and associations, public entities and leading companies in products, services and customer service will analyse challenges and develop innovative proposals.
  • Living Labs: The Les Roches campus and a series of selected destinations will become experiential training environments where students, teachers, consultants and alumni will develop solutions aimed at improving customer and employee experiences.
  • X Center: This is the bridge between research and its practical application, reflecting the industry’s evolution. In this space, both students and industry professionals with established careers will train in the latest trends and technological advances.


As part of its support for emerging talent, the Foundation will have an acceleration program for disruptive startups that create positive change in the hospitality sector. This program will offer comprehensive support, advice, mentoring and access to resources and facilities so that startups can reach their full potential. Additionally, they will organise forums, talks and summits that will serve as a space for exchanging ideas and connecting with other industry leaders.


The Spark X Foundation Advisory Boards, essential components for achieving the Foundation’s goals and activities, will include:


  • Arturo Bernal, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sports of the Junta de Andalucía.
  • Francisco de la Torre, Mayor of Málaga; Ángeles Muñoz, Mayor of Marbella.
  • Javier Gonzalez de la Lara y Sarria, President of CEA & CEM and Vice President of the Spanish Confederation of Business Organisations.
  • Maribel Rodriguez Gamero, Senior Vice President of the World Travel and Tourism Council.
  • Natalia Bayona, Executive Director of UN Tourism.
  • Gonzaga Escauriaza, President of the Royal Spanish Golf Federation.
  • José Luque, President of the Costa del Sol Hotel Entrepreneurs Association.
  • Cristina Martín Blasi, Executive President of Luxury Spain.
  • Francisco José Sardón, President of PREDIF.
  • María Bravo, President of Global Gift Foundation.
  • Mónica Esteban, Founder and President of Juegaterapia.
  • Dimas Gimeno, Executive President of WOW Concept.
  • José Ángel Preciados, CEO of ILUNION Hotels.
  • Nuño de la Rosa, CEO of Air Europa.
  • Joan Roca, Founder of El Celler de Can Roca.
  • Mari Francis Peñarroya, CEO of Holiday World (Grupo Peñarroya).
  • Lisardo Morán Urdiales, Managing Director of Tourism and Sport of Andalucía.
  • Sonia Diez, President of EducAccion.
  • Carlos Mateo, President of the Spanish Startup Association.
  • Ignacio Maluquer, CEO of Starlite.
  • Pedro Ruiz Aragoneses, CEO of Alma Carraovejas.


Les Roches is one of the top five hospitality management institutions worldwide, with a near-total employment rate (98%) and a community of over 16,000 alumni who now hold responsible positions in all areas of the tourism industry.


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