Tourism for all. What does it really mean? For most delegates attending the UNWTO World Tourism Day in Bangkok it clearly meant tourists with a physical or mental handicap, the old, and infants.
Thai Paralympic athletes in wheelchairs were showcased at the conference.
Events in countries around the world celebrated World Tourism Day using the UNWTO theme: Tourism for all. For many it meant giving access to tourists with a handicap.
WTTC CEO David Scowsill defined his version for “Tourism For All.” He also specifically included LGBT travelers and women.
A closing declaration, known as the Bangkok declaration, is being prepared and will be a commitment to tourism for all by UNWTO member states. It serves as a proposal to all UNWTO members. Even though this declaration has no enforcement or legal power, it’s an important step for equality in tourism. It can only be hoped that the definition giving today by WTTC CEO David Scowsill will be the model and definition for “tourism for all.”
eTN publisher and ICTP chairman Juergen Steinmetz noted WTTC’s statement by Mr. Scowsill and welcomed it. He asked UNWTO Representative Mr. Xu Jing to explain who he thinks should be included in the phrase “tourism for all.” Mr. Jing gave a lengthy response and at the end indirectly included all travelers into the definition without saying the word LGBT. Mr. Jing said, “It should include all the groups mentioned by David Scowsill.”
As mentioned at the press conference by Steinmetz, LGBT travelers face great challenges, some criminal penalties in many countries. Women in some countries are not allowed to travel alone, and other countries don’t allow international travel altogether.
The press conference today was attended by H.E. General Tanasak Patimapragorn, Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand; H.E. Mrs. Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, Thai Minister of Tourism and Sports; Mr. Mario Hardy, CEO of the Pacific Asia Travel Association; Mr. Xu Jing, UNWTO Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific (China); and Mr.David Scowsill, President & CEO World Travel and Tourism Council.