The chairman of the International Coalition of Tourism Partners (ICTP) Juergen T Steinmetz today released a statement on his Facebook in response to the United States president Donald Trump issuing a ban on all travel to the U.S. for citizens of Iran, Sudan, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Iraq, Yemen.
Steinmetz said: “I have friends, including some right here on Facebook from Iran, Sudan, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Iraq, Yemen. This message is for you.
As a US Citizen and a citizen of this truly beautiful global world, I am ashamed for my country and my president, and offer my respect and apology to you.
I am convinced: None of my friends are connected to terrorism and would pose harm to anyone in my country or elsewhere.
I know all of you are welcoming people and you love to host guests in your country, including Americans.
Over the years in my career, I had the pleasure to visit Iran, Syria, Libya, Iraq and Yemen.
I visited the hospitality school in Yemen and met students excited to enter the hospitality business. I spoke at the Islamic Hall of the People in Teheran, met the minister of tourism in Libya in his office, had lunch with the minister of tourism in Syria – yes this may have been before our recent troubled times, but what hasn’t changed:
Almost all of you are hard working travel and tourism professionals.
Some of you have been working to promote and maintain tourism against all odds. I know some of my friends in Iran built their business model in welcoming guests from the U.S. Some display a proud ASTA logo on their storefront window. You welcomed American tourists for many years – and with great success.
I remember when eTN was the only western company that exhibited after September 11’in Iran, some of you lined up for hours at our stand to speak with me. I remember a nice Iranian elderly lady giving me a box of her homemade cookies telling me: “We all love America.”
You will continue to have the support of the global travel and tourism industry, including Americans.
The United States is a welcoming country. Our people are peaceful, friendly and have a big heart. We are proud of our nation. We are a nation of immigrants and come from all corners of the world to expand on our American dream – including me.
It’s illegal in this country to discriminate – so this executive order will not prevail. It hurts not only tourism, business travel, but it hurts our families- and it’s hurting our standing in the world.”
Current ICTP members from the affected countries include members in
Iran: Darwan Tour & Travel Co. Ltd. Shiraz, Fars, Iran
Dr. Mohammad Sharif Malekzadeh, Iran
International Institute for Research and Development of Special Interest Tourism – SITI 1, Iran
Keyhan Seir Travel Agency, Mashhad, Iran
Iran Doostan Tours, Tehran, Iran
Hamsafaran Mashad Travel Company, Iran
Intishar for Tourist Patches, Sudan
Ministry of Tourism, Antiques & Wildlife Sudan
Ministry of Tourism Yemen
Yemen Tourism Promotion Board (YTPB)
For more information on the International Coalition of Tourism Partners and how to join visit www.ictp.travel