Professor Geoffrey Lipman, former UNWTO assistant secretary general, first CEO of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) and current president of the Hawaii and Brussel based International Council of Tourism Partners states his vision for the ICTP.
eTN: Recently you became President of the International Council of Tourism Partners (ICTP). What can you tell us about this new organization?
LIPMAN: First and foremost, ICTP is what we call a bottom of the pyramid organization, in that we support engaging views from destinations and their stakeholders who add an important dimension to policy thinking and action about the tourism sector. It’s picking up on the catch phrase, “glocalization,” which brings global and local actions into closer harmony. ICTP was established to aid in this process and give destinations a real stake in the process, because the ultimate impact of travel and tourism is felt at the destination level.
Second we are a “multi-stakeholder” grouping, trying to engage many good organizations who frankly don’t have a seat at the policy discussion table – organizations like IIPT and theAfrica Travel Association – and we are sure that those sitting at the table will welcome an efficient way to be inclusionary, by working also with ICTP. We will also use our excellent communications links via eTN to help profile their views, without blurring our own messages. Third, we have a focused agenda around green growth and quality and a very targeted area of engagement – sustainable aviation growth; streamlined travel and fair coherent taxation. You will see that our own statements and actions are based in these areas, which we feel are pivotal to the sound development of the sector
eTN: At the World Travel Market in London, you presented the ICTP Visionary Award to Louis D’Amore, President and Founder of the International Institute for Peace through Tourism (IIPT). What is the significance of this award and how do you foresee it will aid in the mission of ICTP?
LIPMAN: In the early stages of thinking about awards, we knew we wanted to be different from what is already out there. Our Visionary Award was established to acknowledge the major contributions of someone who has made a major contribution to the sector. Lou has certainly been an inspiration in that sense, as the most avid campaigner for peace and tourism programs for the past 25 years and the analytical underpinnings that go behind this linkage. It was for similar reasons that we presented an award to Ray Bloom who has been one of the stalwarts of the important meetings industry.
eTN: So was ICTP your brainchild?
LIPMAN: Not at all. The idea for this organization sprang from the minds of 3 creative thinkers – Alain St.Ange, now Minister of Tourism & Culture for Seychelles; Faisal Hashim, Asian hotel and travel services operator; and your own publisher, Juergen Thomas Steinmetz, owner of the eTurbo Group. These 3 individuals saw the need for an organization that would pull together diverse tourism groups in an atmosphere of mutual support. And I, myself, with a lifetime rooted in the tourism industry, and leadership positions with UNWTO, WTTC, and IATA, came along later and saw the opportunity to galvanize action on the big issues from the bottom of the pyramid, and particularly to place a focus on green growth
eTN: Members already include Anguilla; Grenada; Flores & Manggarai Baratkab County, Indonesia; La Reunion (French Indian Ocean); Malawi; Northern Mariana Islands, US Pacific Island Territory; Palestine; Rwanda; Seychelles; Sri Lanka; Johannesburg, South Africa; Oman; Zimbabwe; and from the US: California; Georgia; North Shore, Hawaii; Bangor, Maine; San Juan County & Moab, Utah; & Richmond, Virginia . How do destinations join?
LIPMAN: We kept it pretty simple. To become a member of ICTP, a destination must show their commitment to green growth and quality, and the desire to work together to achieve these goals. They can then simply sign up on our website Tourismpartners.org, and there is no fee because most of our interaction will be virtual. If members want to engage in green growth and quality-related support programs, they can become what we call Academy members and pay a small subscription for the services. We have also developed online support services for staff at a nominal fee on www.greengrowth2050.com .
We provided an engagement possibility for organizations – including NGOs and we made a very low-cost space for the private sector – particularly those wanting to work with destinations in our area of focus.
The official launch of ICTP was held at last year’s World Travel Market in London, so we think the membership growth is pretty good so far, and we believe 2012 will see big expansion, especially with the focus of green growth at Rio+20 in Brazil in June.
The International Council of Tourism Partners (ICTP) is a new grassroots travel and tourism coalition of global destinations committed to quality service and green growth. The ICTP logo represents the strength in collaboration (the block) of many small communities (the lines) committed to sustainable oceans (blue) and land (green).
ICTP engages communities and their stakeholders to share quality and green opportunities including tools and resources, access to funding, education, and marketing support. ICTP advocates sustainable aviation growth, streamlined travel formalities, and fair coherent taxation.
ICTP supports the UN Millennium Development Goals, the UN World Tourism Organization’s Global Code of Ethics for Tourism, and a range of programs that underpin them. The ICTP alliance is represented in Haleiwa, Hawaii, USA; Brussels, Belgium; Bali, Indonesia; and Victoria, Seychelles. ICTP membership is available to qualified destinations free of charge. Academy membership features a prestigious and selected group of destinations. Members of destinations currently include Anguilla; Grenada; Flores & Manggarai Baratkab County, Indonesia; La Reunion (French Indian Ocean); Malawi, Northern Mariana Islands, US Pacific Island Territory; Palestine; Rwanda; Seychelles; Sri Lanka; Johannesburg, South Africa; Oman; Zimbabwe; and from the US: California; Georgia; North Shore, Hawaii; Bangor, Maine; San Juan County & Moab, Utah; & Richmond, Virginia
For more information, go to: www.tourismpartners.org .