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No Hero left behind on this World Tourism Day 2021

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The World Tourism Network is only 18 months old, but new leaders are emerging in the global travel and tourism industry.
Many of them are identified as true tourism heroes by the World Tourism Network – but who are they?

  • The World Tourism Network (WTN) has members in 128 countries and emerged from the is the free award and recognition program by WTN honoring those that made a difference.
  • According to UNWTO, this World Tourism Day 2021 is about inclusivity in tourism. WTN assures this includes all those heroes with no names.
  • The real heroes are those that had no business during the pandemic and still believe in the travel and tourism industry. This unkown group was awarded the Anonomyous Tourism Hero Award. by the World Tourism Network today.

” The real heroes in my heart without jobs for 18 months and survived.
However invisible they are – they are among us, but they may not have a voice. I want them to listen to us, come forward, so we can applaud them for surviving and continuing to survive, and be part of our great industry. World Tourism Day 2021 was about inclusivity, and this group must be included.” said Marikar Donato, co -organizer of the World Tourism Day event for WTN and a tourism hero herself.
She added: “There are thousands of unknown tourism heroes.”

Founder and Chairman of the World Tourism Network added: I am so proud of Marikar to come up with the Anonomyous Tourism Hero award, a first in this world.

It’s urgent, we recognize these unknown heroes. Ther are everywhere.

Sometimes we know who these heroes are. We had situation people didn’t want to be named as heroes. They felt what they doesn’t have to be shared with the public.

I am pleased to announce, the World Tourism Network is the first global tourism organization realizing the need to put these unknown heroes in the forefront.

The anonymous tourism hero award was officially added to the portfolio.

WTN co-founder Dr. Peter Tarlow acknowledged and said:

“Tourism is composed of thousands of people who unselfishly create bonds between individuals, cultures and nations.

These tourism stars are the industry’s unsung heroes who bring light to a world swamped in darkness.

The World Tourism Network seeks to bring these tourism heroes to light. As Dr. Peter Tarlow, co-found of the World Tourism Network has stated: “tourism is more than a mere industry, it is a combination of the pragmatic with the spiritual, the interaction of souls with this world reality.

Tourism heroes are those who unite the ethical with the practical and blending our humanity with the world of travel” Tarlow reminds us that tourism heroes represent the best in all of us and learning about each one is a journey into the depth of creativity and caring.”

Marikar Donato is a Washington DC Tour Guide and an executive in the World Federation of Tourist Guide Association (WFTGA)

Today the World Tourism Network celebrated also its known heroes. Every hero recognized by WTN has done something beyond what could be expected going through the COVID-19 pendemic.

Dr. Taleb Rifai, former two-term UNWTO Secretary-General welcomed heroes from his home in Jordan. Tourism Hero Mary Rhodes, president of the Guam Hotel & Restaurant Association got up at 4 am to attend this international zoom event with heroes on every continent.

Dr. Walter Mzembi, former minister of Tourism from Zimbabwe warned this world has closed, and unilateral directives are destroying the multilateral approach tourism leaders fought for 20 years.

Alain St. Ange, president of the African Tourism Board, and former minister of Tourism from Seychelles had a message of unity for Africa.

Aleksandra Gardasevic Slavuljica, the director of Tourism for this Balkan nation was part of the WTN from the beginning. She was made a tourism hero for her role in bringing the Balkan region together. She was supported by Tourism Hero Klodiana Gorica, a full Full Professor at the University of Tirana, Faculty of Economy, in Albania.

Hear from Dr. Snežana Štetić has been working in Tourism and in education for Tourism for more than 40 years and is the head of the educational interest group, plus leading the high-level Balkan Group of the World Tourism Network.

Deepak Joshi, a tourism hero from Nepal, and former CEO of the Nepal Tourism Board gave his feedback on the reopening of tourism for the Himalayan region.

Professor Geoffrey Lipman of SunX and the International Climate and Tourism Partnership (ICTP) reminded the world of the threat of climate change.

Tourism Hero Mouhamed Faouzou DEME from Senegal shared his message of hope, confidence, and encouragement with the world of tourism. He is also an ambassador of the African Tourism Board, and a Technical Advisor of the Minister of Tourism and Air Transport of Senegal.

Tourism Hero and CEO of the Next Group LLC in Azerbaijan, Efsun Ahmadov, Baku, in Azerbaijan felt better after an unplesant case of COVID.

Tourism hero Diana McIntyre-Pike gave an update on her new cooperation with tourism hero Edmund Bartlett, minister of tourism in Jamaica. Diana is a tourism hero and a leader in community tourism in Jamaica.

Amaka Amatokwu-Ndekwu, Lagos, Nigeria is the co- founder of the recently established African Association of Women In Tourism and Hospitality in Nigeria. She resides both in the United States and Nigeria.

Tourism Hero Joseph Kafunda is the Chairperson of the Emerging Tourism Enterprise Association and a member of the World Tourism Network based in Namibia. He joined from Botswana.

Dr. Peter Tarlow, co-founder of the World Tourism Network finished the event with a multi-faith prayer.


There is never a charge to nominate or receive the Heroes recognition by the World Tourism Network. It takes a minimum of two independent nominations to be considered for this award. More information on

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About the author

Juergen T Steinmetz

Juergen Thomas Steinmetz has continuously worked in the travel and tourism industry since he was a teenager in Germany (1977).
He founded eTurboNews in 1999 as the first online newsletter for the global travel tourism industry.

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