Born in Strasbourg in May 1942, Jean-Claude Baumgarten graduated from the French business school, Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales.
He joined Air France in 1970 and was appointed Regional Manager for West Japan in 1974. He later became Regional Manager for Thailand and Burma, as well as Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia and then General Manager for Japan in 1982. He was also Chairman of the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
In September 1986, Jean-Claude became Vice President and General Manager for the United States. In June 1990 he was appointed Vice President for the Americas and Asia.
In November 1993, Jean-Claude was promoted to Executive Vice President of Commercial Operations and Member of the Executive and Strategic Committee. In February 1996 he became Executive Vice President of Corporate, International & Industrial Affairs. From December 1997 until July 1998, prior to leaving Air France, Jean-Claude held the position of advisor to the Chairman.
In October 1999 he was appointed to President and CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council and in November 2010, Jean-Claude left his position as President and CEO and became Vice Chairman of the World Travel & Tourism Council.
Jean-Claude Baumgarten is a Chevalier dans l’Ordre National de la Legion d’Honneur. He is also an Officier de l’Ordre National du Merite and a Chevalier des Arts et Lettres. He is advisor in Foreign Trade to both the French Government and the Chairman of the Tourism Commission. He was presented with the Gold Medal for Tourism by Turismo do Algarve in 2003.