The International Institute for Peace Through Tourism has honoured 7 outstanding people from the world of travel and tourism as “Global Ambassadors of Peace Through Tourism” at the World Travel Market in London.
The event took place on Monday 6th November during WTM in London.
The theme was “Tourism – A Catalyst for Peace” and Dr Taleb Rifai, Secretary General UNWTO, was the Chief Guest and Keynote speaker. The event was hosted by Anita Mendiratta, Founder & President CACHET Consulting, who herself was given an award for her work over the years with the UNWTO.
Supported by “Incredible India” and the UNWTO, the Awards were sponsored by Cox & Kings, and sought to build on the success of the “Celebrating Her” awards for Empowered Women in Tourism that IIPT has been conducting at ITB Berlin since 2016.
Speaking on the rationale of the Awards, Ajay Prakash President of IIPT India explained, “Tourism and Peace are inextricably linked. Such a large industry has the power to shape the world and it is time to focus this power and harness the collective financial, political and moral resources of the travel & tourism industry and make it count. But for this to happen, the concept of tourism as a vehicle for peace has to be integrated into the core business philosophy of every stakeholder – tourism companies, host destinations, tourists and all service providers. And because tourism is such a people-centric activity it’s important to recognise and felicitate people who have devoted their energies to champion sustainable tourism practices that go beyond the commercial interest and embrace the higher paradigm of tourism – to nurture and save the planet and its people, tapping into the collective resources and social reach of the travel and tourism industry. Towards this end, we have been doing the ‘Celebrating Her’ awards for Empowered Women in Tourism at ITB Berlin for the last two years and we are very happy to present the first ‘Ambassadors of Peace’ awards at WTM this year.”
Founded in 1986 by Louis D’Amore, IIPT is built on two very simple but powerful premises: That tourism, perhaps the biggest industry in the world, can become the first global Peace Industry and that every tourist is potentially an Ambassador of Peace. Through global summits, conferences, the global Peace Parks initiative, consultations with governments and the UNWTO and a regular monthly newsletter, IIPT has worked conscientiously over the last 30 to make peace an integral part of the tourism ecosphere.
The IIPT Global Ambassadors of Peace Through Tourism 2017 are:
- HRH Princess Dana Firas of Jordan – Chairperson of the Petra National Trust & UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador
- Fiona Jeffery OBE – Founder, Just a Drop Foundation
- Anita Mendiratta – Managing Director CACHET Consulting, Tourism author & thought leader
- Costas Christ – CEO, Beyond Green Travel and Senior Advisor for Sustainable Tourism, National Geographic
- Geoffrey Lipman – Director Green Growth & Travelism Institute & Co-Founder SunX Foundation
- David Scowsill – CEO EON Reality & Immed. Past President & CEO, WTTC
In addition, IIPT confered the Lifetime Award on Dr. Taleb Rifai, Secretary General UNWTO as a “Global Man of Peace Through Tourism.”
Louis D’Amore, Founder President of IIPT added, “IIPT is privileged and grateful to pay tribute to Dr. Taleb Rifai for his global leadership these past eight years. We have been most honored to have Dr. Rifai grace the stage at IIPT World Travel Market events as our featured keynote speaker over the past several years and to have his unwavering support for IIPT initiatives in our mission to make the travel and tourism industry the world’s first global peace industry. We look forward to a continuing relationship with him in the years ahead as we join hands in efforts to promote the transformative role of tourism in ‘making the world a better place.’”
As the UN Year of Sustainable Development through Tourism draws to a close, there is a growing realisation that the work is far from complete; the geopolitical world situation is very alarming in many parts; the threat of imminent climate change is a real and present danger and the burgeoning tourist numbers could pose a serious ecological threat, especially in eco sensitive zones, if not managed correctly. At the same time, the peace accord between the FARC rebels and the Colombian government – after 50 years of civil strife, the increased access to clean water and sanitation for many poor communities and the commitment to the Paris Accord on climate change by all signatories – barring one – are positive developments and reason for hope.
Commenting on the awards, Peter Kerkar Group CEO of Cox & Kings, says “Cox & Kings is extremely proud to be sponsoring the ‘Global Ambassadors of Peace Through Tourism’ Awards and honouring those individuals who have devoted time and energy to promoting goodwill through travel. It is vital that we encourage peaceful cultural exchange and recognise those who have used tourism to facilitate philanthropic activities. These ideals are no better represented than by the IIPT and our ‘Global Man of Peace,’ Dr. Taleb Rifai, Secretary General of the UNWTO.”
IIPT plans to make the “Ambassadors of Peace Through Tourism” awards an annual feature at WTM London.