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Regional and sectoral perspectives driving peace through tourism at IIPT Conference in Johannesburg

Regional and sectoral perspectives driving peace through tourism at IIPT Conference in Johannesburg ( JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - Minister of Tourism and Culture of Seychelles, Alain St. Ange, and President of the International Coalition of Tourism Partners (ICTP), Geoffrey Lipman, spoke on a panel at the International Institute for Peace Through Tourism (IIPT) World Symposium about regional and sectoral perspectives driving peace through tourism. The following are notes from the highlights of the points made by each advocate of peace through tourism:

Geoffrey Lipman: President of ICTP
One War We Can Win

He feels the issues in the world are getting more complex, and there are great challenges in coexistence. It might get increasingly more difficult to travel and the economy could be getting even tougher. He feels this is a hump to get over. We have a war that everyone can acknowledge is happening, and this war is about sustainability. One issue is climate resilience – we must come to terms with that. Our industry is failing badly and is not in the same position as other industries. What will happen when bush fires become semi-permanent and flooding increases? 1% of the world’s population have 90% of the wealth, and there is something drastically wrong with this. There needs to be inclusive development.

There is a need for Green Growth. Over the next ten to fifteen years, if we don’t deal with the issues like unemployment, we won’t be able to sustain the tourism that is being talked about. We must start using cleaner energy like solar, wave, and wind, and less oil and coal. We need to build new frameworks that include people and harness the Internet so the energy can meet the needs of a growing population. We need a conservation mentality if we’re going to survive as a species. This means massive change and trillions of dollars.

There needs to be a shift for every country in the world. Nothing can go forward if we don’t fix climate. All of our infrastructure is under threat. 2015 will be pivotal. Green Growth has to come down to a community level, and we need to start thinking in global ways.

A few summits are upcoming that address some of this, such as shifting funds from rich countries to poor ones, SDGs, and also on carbon targets. These targets will become enforceable by 2020.

We have been guilty of oversight. You can’t manage anything that you can’t measure, such as the impact of various things on tourism. The next generation will have to deal with this. If you don’t start controlling the rolling engine before it’s too late, then it’s too late. We need to show the impacts with the benefits.

The ICTP Vision

The Sun Project

This deals with the concept of Green Growth and Travelism and includes:

Sunark – a solar-powered, 20-meter-squared building that instantly starts generating power for a community. It should also be a learning center; a strong university network should be there.

Sun-Connect – cloud connected with global access, local linkage, and civic resources LED. It will be driven by the Internet and run by sharp young people. It should be TV white space enabled.

Sun-Community – Local bottom-up, global and national, and takes in the views of NGOs.

Beyond certification programs that build education and learning in. How can it be put on mobile phones, because that’s how people will be looking for solutions and systems. They are seeking sponsors, engaging partners, and creating pilots. They are working with the Vanilla Islands of the Indian Ocean to make this group of islands a prototype for this type of thinking.

Prof. Lipman ended his speech with the message, “Act Now.”

Alain St. Ange: Minister of Tourism of the Seychelles

Why did Louis D’Amore invite us here? IIPT has brought people from a cross-section of countries to rally in the direction of sustainability and peaceful communications. Lou wants us to reflect on how we are doing it, and what else we can do. We are championing the activities and legacies of three men, each of whom helped shape the world. They were underestimated in their own time. We forget that what starts at the bottom makes headway. Underestimated people power. These three leaders defeated in their own way the establishments of their era. They had a long walk to freedom.

How do we get that legacy to be a marking point in this time? How do we impact our own country and out own people with the vision these 3 men created? In the Seychelles, they are doing what they say they are doing. Seychelles would grind to a halt without tourism. So, the heavy burden of the economy of the country rests on tourism. The spirit of togetherness, working together, like IIPT together with ICTP, for example, will help make a difference.

We need to share our experiences and work together. Seychelles realizes it because it is so small. It is a life that recognizes people, and puts people in the center of its development. Some of the biggest countries should be members of the UNWTO, but are not (USA and Canada, for example). All the bodies must work together, and everybody needs to be on board. Some countries do not recognize the importance of tourism or of climate change.

How do we find grassroots travel and make the world more conscious? ICTP dedicates itself to working on that, using the UNWTO as its umbrella to give it a degree of order.

Negative news makes news, and we need to find more ways of getting positive stories out there. Stories like what IIPT and Louis D’Amore are doing to help bring peace to the world. The time to look at past wars should be left in the past. Brand Africa will do better looking forward. It will do much better if everyone would be united. Keep one’s own identity, but work together.

Tourism brings peace. When people have a bit of money, they can relax and have a drink, rather than fight for life. Tourism puts money in the pockets of the people. The world is hearing about beheadings, not about positive changes like Jo’burg has been cleaned up and is now quite safe.

We should all leave this conference with a feeling to carry forth the objective to work for peace in every way we can.

PHOTO (L-R): Minister St.Ange&Mr. Geoffrey Lipman


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