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Joint message by ICTP Executives Hon. Alain St.Ange and Juergen T Steinmetz on World Environment Day

Joint message by ICTP Executives Hon. Alain St.Ange and Juergen T Steinmetz on World Environment Day ( Protection of the environment will happen in earnest through a consolidated tourism industry.

World Environment Day 2015 is on the agenda of the International Coalition of Tourism Partners (ICTP). ICTP Executive Board Member and Minister of Tourism and Culture for the Seychelles Hon. Alain St.Ange issued a joint statement with ICTP chairman and eTN Publisher Juergen Thomas Steinmetz today, echoing ICTP president Geoffrey Lipman earlier address to the World Economic Forum in Capetown, South Africa.

“Protection of the environment will happen in earnest through a consolidated tourism industry. 2015 is a landmark year in the multi-decade journey for a sustainable future".

Geoffrey Lipman, the president of the Hawaii, Brussels, Seychelles and Bali based International Coalition of Tourism Partners (ICTP), had addressed the audience at the World Economic Forum in Capetown yesterday.

“The travel and tourism sector (here called “travelism”) is a key element in green growth – not just transport, hospitality and travel services, but also the essential soft and hard infrastructure that underpins it; not just international, but also the much larger domestic flows. This system, spanning several industries and government agencies, is a major contributor to GDP, jobs, consumption, investment and trade. It is also a catalyst for mobility infrastructure, human capacity-building and local livelihood development.

At the same time, however, the impacts of the industry in terms of carbon (transport/buildings), resource utilization (water/food) and “people congestion” have not been effectively measured nor coherently managed.

The travelism influence – positive and negative – has a significant place in global growth transformation; representing directly and indirectly some 5%-10% of world socio-economic activity, with Africa’s 9% GDP and 8 million jobs contribution forecast to grow annually at close to 5%. With new pan-African/regional collaboration and China-led bilateral and multilateral funding, we can expect to see major road, rail and air links across the continent to spur the movement of the increasing middle class and an ultimate market of 1 billion consumers" said Geoffrey Lipman and his words were echoed by both Juergen Steinmetz in Hawaii and Alain St.Ange from the Seychelles.

Juergen Steinmetz and Alain St.Ange, both spoke about the need for the world to protect what they have as unique selling points that are today catalysts for attracting visitors.

“Protecting what we have as tourism destinations will ensure we continue to have a buoyant tourism industry, but in so doing we shall all be protecting the environment we have. This is why we in Seychelles speak up saying clearly that we want to be remembered as good custodians of the most spectacular islands we have been blessed with" said Minister St.Ange of the Seychelles."

Juergen Steinmetz explained: “My home region on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii is a typical example how this responsibility and the fine balance of a quality tourism product can be in harmony with limiting expansion to protect the environment. Since I moved to the North Shore 25 years ago, beaches remain inviting and clean, no new hotel projects were authorized and tourists can still find turtles and Hawaiian Monk Seals 45 miles away from busy Waikiki. I think our North Shore Chamber of Commerce with our many business owners operating a largen number of restaurants and shops agreeing is the only one in the world not necessary promoting expansion and new business. At the same time the North Shore with our famous pipeline remains the Capital of the World when it comes to surfing with hundred thousands of visitors enjoying the natural beauty of this remote part of our island."

Professor Lipman said that when placing the protection of the environment in context: “Africa has a big opportunity for transformation support – in addition to current development finance. The entire continent is high on the climate and disaster vulnerability league table – and it must receive a large share of the new multibillion adaptation funding pool.

It is my belief, after 25 years of focus on green growth, from leading-edge industry and government organizations, that two issues are fundamental for meaningful change: first, bringing travelism and environmental metrics together into a single balance sheet and, second, delivering coherent green growth transformation solutions to the local level, which is where the sustainability rubber hits the road.

As to the former, the Forum’s Global Agenda Council for New Models of Tourism is advancing new thinking in this area – looking at a coherent matrix of sustainability measurements, targets and indicators for the industry and for destinations to better understand and respond to the green growth imperative.

As to the latter, with industry and academic colleagues, we are building the SUN Program to establish an interactive international green growth network that will practically increase the capacity of travelism to deliver on climate resilience and sustainability at the local community level. A network of prefabricated solar-powered monitoring and learning centres will use a cloud-based platform to link research on innovation, renewables, big data and the like into community-led resilience programmes, where “green” is linked with “growth” through meaningful policies, measurements, education and action. The first pilot will appropriately be in Africa in Mauritius in 2015″.

Professor Geoffrey Lipman is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on New Models of Tourism – after leadership positions in IATA, WTTC and UNWTO, he is leading the SUN Program, designed to bring green growth to travel destinations.

He is currently the president of the International Coalition of Tourism Partners (ICTP). Alain St.Ange is the Minister of Tourism and Culture of the Republic of Seychelles and Juergen Steinmetz is the Publisher of eTurboNewe (eTN), a global news-wire for the travel and tourism industry.

Juergen Thomas Steinmetz Email: Telefon: 1-808-536-1100

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