PATWA believes the benefit that a vibrant tourism industry has on a nation’s economy is only the tip of the iceberg, and that tourism should become the force on the promotion of world peace and the building of understanding and interdependence between nations.
Alain St.Ange, the former Minister of Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine of the Seychelles, and now one of the seven candidates for the position of Secretary General of the UNWTO (United Nations World Tourism Organization) was on the panel of speakers at the PATWA (Pacific Area Travel Writers Association) Summit for World Tourism & Aviation Leaders on Peace, The Vehicle for Tourism organized on the sidelines of ITB in Berlin.
Also on the panel was Dr. Taleb Rifai, the current SG of the UNWTO; Hon. Walter Mzembi, Tourism Ministers of Zimbabwe and also a candidate for the post of UNWTO SG; and Geoffrey Lipman, President of the International Coalition of Tourism Partners (ICTP), among others, with Anita Mendiratta of TASK CNN was the moderator of the summit. It was a great panel which was in place as the Minister of Tourism of Egypt was invited to address the summit.
Alain St.Ange used the summit to ask everyone to reflect on what tourism is, so as to better understand PATWA’s call for using this industry to be a vehicle for peace. St.Ange of the Seychelles asked if tourism was today the hotels or resorts, or was it the airlines of DMCs, before speaking on the fact that tourism was the destination as a whole. We can no longer be in a plush hotel and open the window to see a ghetto with people sleeping on the roads, we can no longer be witnessing a situation where the people of the country are disconnected with their tourism industry, he said. “We need to rally through the UNWTO to have a wholesome approach to tourism that embodies culture and ensures that the people of the country is part and parcel of their tourism industry,” said St.Ange.