Career Tribute to outstanding alumni

The Universidad Externado de Colombia and its School of Hospitality and Tourism Management will recognize the work of two of its outstanding graduates: Adolfo Scheel Mayenberger, Director of Operations of GHL Hotels, and Gustavo Adolfo Toro Velásquez, who recently served for seven years as Executive President of the Hotel and Tourism Association of Colombia - COTELCO.

  • Date: December 10
  • Time: 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
  • Venue: Building I Auditorium – Zoom Platform.


Adolfo and Gustavo have dedicated their professional lives to the consolidation and strengthening of the country’s tourism and hotel sector, which has earned them the admiration, affection and respect of colleagues, friends, fellow students and, of course, the academic community of our School and House of Studies.

Adolfo is a Hotel and Tourism Administrator from the first graduating class (1979-1) of the School; he has postgraduate studies from the Centro de Investigación y Capacitación Turística (CICATUR), Mexico City, in hotel project evaluation and tourism planning; he is a specialist in Financial Management for Hotels and Restaurants from Cornell University, United States.

He has been a professor of the undergraduate and graduate programs of the School of Tourism and Hotel Management of the Externado for more than 30 years. He currently teaches in the Master’s Program in Hotel Management and Development. He is the author of several books related to hotel operations, including “Operational and Financial Evaluation, applied to the hotel industry”, which is considered the “bible” of hoteliers in Colombia and Latin America, and already has four editions in print. He has always been immersed in the world of finance; his imprint is irreplaceable in the world of Hospitality and Tourism. He has served as Director of Operations of the GHL Hotels chain for more than 25 years and has held senior management positions, leaving the name of our University very high.

He has lectured in more than 20 countries and has participated as an international consultant in the development of hotel projects; he has also been an advisor to the main real estate developers in Colombia. He is an internationally respected academic; he has trained more than 6,000 collaborators in Grupo Hoteles Limitada.

He was considered ‘Person of the Year’ in the tourism sector in Colombia in 2020, being this year the most difficult for the hotel industry in recent history. He is considered a pioneer in the creation of the hotel cluster of 26th Street in Bogota, as well as the founder of the modern hotel industry in our country.

Outstanding student, teacher, father, brother and partner. His colleagues and friends highlight him as a great human being, affable, affectionate, simple, and always concerned about the welfare of his collaborators. He is an example of responsibility, leadership and commitment.

Gustavo is a Tourism and Hotel Business Administrator from the eleventh graduating class (1984-2) of the School; he holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration from the Universidad de los Andes, and a Master’s degree in Economics from the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana.

He has been a professor in the undergraduate and graduate programs of the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management. He has extensive experience in the public and private sectors in Colombia, where he has served as Manager of the National Tourism Corporation, Manager of the Tourism Promotion Fund of Colombia and General Director of Tourism of the Ministry of Economic Development, now the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism; subsequently, and for seven years, he served as Executive President of the Hotel and Tourism Association of Colombia- COTELCO.

His work was decisive for the promotion of domestic tourism through successful campaigns such as “Vive Colombia viaja por ella”, and the caravans of the same name, projects that allowed the recovery of Colombians’ confidence to travel by road and that earned him important recognitions such as the ‘Exemplary Colombian’ award from the newspaper El Colombiano, the ‘Public Management’ award granted by the Presidency of the Republic in 2003, the tourism journalists’ award as ‘Best Public Official in Tourism’ in 2003, and the ‘Order of Quindío’ in the grade of ‘Grand Knight’, among others.

He has led initiatives that promote the sector from other fronts, such as the Tourism Friendly Schools program, which has been taken as a global reference of good practices by the World Tourism Organization (WTO). Under his administration, the promotional platforms were created to help the marketing of establishments and ‘Sugar’, to support the management of reservations, especially for small affiliates. Recently, as president of Cotelco and in alliance with the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at the Externado, he formulated the ‘Vision 2030 for Tourism in Colombia’, which has served as strategic input over the last three years for the new tourism law and for various public policy instruments in the sector.

Finally, at the political level and under his leadership, he achieved in seven years an outstanding work before the National Government, such as the articulation of several needs of the lodging sector in the new ‘Tourism Law, 2068 of 2020’, the regulation of technological platforms that promote tourism services in the country, defining them as tourism service providers and various incentives to support the reactivation of the sector given the current crisis derived from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Highlighted by his colleagues and friends as a great human being, with a great communicative and leadership capacity that has allowed him to decode the most felt needs of the sector, its providers and the inhabitants of the various tourist destinations in Colombia, to, from the different positions he has held, manage with great efficiency the resolution of the various problems of the sector.  He has established links with different actors of the national geography, leaving a great professional and personal mark.