The world’s tourism community has long taken pride in its ability to have a direct impact on sustainable development, tourism increasingly being viewed as a powerful tool for poverty alleviation, economic growth, sustainable development, social inclusion and stability, and also an effective instrument for peace building. As one of the world’s only economic sectors on a continuous growth trajectory of 3.5%+ per annum over the past decade, tourism has also grown in geo-political value in its building understanding and unity across borders, cultures and ideologies. The industry possesses unique assets that can be actively leveraged. Leaders in the industry are seizing the opportunity to highlight its significance.
Among the billions of people travelling internationally each year, a number that is expected to rise to 1.8 billion by 2030 according to the UNWTO, are individuals who have dedicated their professions to being tourism practitioners, driving the messages of sustainable tourism for development through their daily work. There has never been a better time to support the effort than 2017, the United Nation’s International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development (IY2017).
One of these global leaders is Anita Mendiratta, an independent global consultant in tourism and development, through her firm, Cachet Consulting. Over the past 15 years, her work has put her on the front line of not just worldwide tourism development and competitiveness, but recovery from economic, political, natural or other crisis, for people relying on tourism for the well-being of their nations and nationals.
Her work as an advisor to organizations such as UNWTO, USTOA, World Bank and CNN International, as well as a number of leading global businesses such as The Travel Corporation, currently emphasizes around not just the national development value of the tourism sector, but also leveraging the value of travelers as messengers of tourism as a means of advancing global unity. She is a committed messenger of the messages of tourism as a global force for good. Her commitment to the sector saw her recently awarded the Pacific Area Travel Writers Association’s Special Honor for Tourism & Development during its International Awards Ceremony at ITB Berlin 2017.
As a response to the mission of IY2017, Mendiratta has been focusing her writing and speaking engagements on ways in which the sector, and travelers, can play a part in the development of global societies, economies and cultures, while protecting both people and planet. So far this year, a number of her speeches, as well as 2017 CNN TASK “Compass” articles, have showcased not just the critical cultural and environmental messages IY2017, but also the examples of global practice – the messengers. She believes that the meaning of ‘sustainability’ goes far beyond going green and that 2017, the United Nation’s International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, is a unique opportunity to raise awareness of the contribution of sustainable tourism to development among public and private sector decision-makers and the public, while mobilizing all stakeholders, especially travelers, to work together in making tourism a catalyst for positive change.
Mendiratta’s work as an advisor and speaker with vital T&T corporations, government bodies, universities and CNN embeds her principles of sustainable tourism at economic, social, cultural and environmental levels into mindsets and approaches to tourism growth so that other members of the industry understand and leverage the impact they have on global tourism and the global community at large.
Repeatedly, Mendiratta challenges her clients, partners and audiences to make sure that the opportunity of IY2017 is not wasted by the industry. The sector, she argues, has been given 365 days to drive its message of global impact across the global community, beyond tourism. With the entire UN system focusing on tourism in IY2017, Mendiratta is bullish in pushing the need for each and every leader in the industry stepping forward to make every day count.
With 100 days over, the challenge intensifies. For global leaders of tourism like Mendiratta, no opportunity to spread the messages of IY2017 can be wasted.
For more in IY2017, see tourism4development2017.org