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This New Tourism Hero Wants YOU to Scream for Ukraine!

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His city and his country are under attack, but the world of tourism is honoring Ivan Liptuga today!

The Hall of International Tourism Heroes is open by nomination only to recognize those that have shown extraordinary leadership, innovation, and actions. Tourism Heroes go the extra step. Today, the World Tourism Network announced the nomination of its latest Hero, Ivan Liptuga.

Ivan Liptuga is from the beautiful Ukrainian Black Sea resort town of Odesa in southern Ukraine. It’s known for its beaches and 19th-century architecture, including the Odessa Opera and Ballet Theater. The monumental Potemkin Stairs, immortalized in “The Battleship Potemkin,” lead down to the waterfront with its Vorontsov Lighthouse. Running parallel to the water, the grand Primorsky Boulevard is a popular promenade lined with mansions and monuments.

Today, Odessa is under threat to become the next target for Russian aggression to take Ukraine by force.

Ivan Liptuga, head of the National Tourism Organization of Ukraine, has been the face of Ukraine Tourism at international events even before and during the COVID crisis, but the situation today has changed.

When tension began between Ukraine and Russia, Ivan was the one who brought tourism leaders together and believed in a peaceful solution; this happened just a week before Russia invaded his beloved country.

Ivan Liptuga, National Tourism Organization of Ukraine
Ivan Liptuga, National Tourism Organization of Ukraine

Not giving up and keeping the spirit of tourism and friendship alive, Ivan kept the conversation going. In a recent initiative hosted by World Tourism Network with SKAL International Romania, he became the focal point of the conversation on how tourism and peace are connected. He contributed to a practical approach to assist in the growing refugee crisis his country is currently facing. SKAL Romania set an example.

In the meantime, Ivan contributed from the inside and through his leadership. His family has been cooking for dozens of Ukrainian soldiers while defending his country in the war.

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Dr. Peter Tarlow, President WTN

Dr. Peter Tarlow, President of WTN, congratulated Ivan for becoming the latest WTN Hero. He said: “In the face of one of the world’s most tragic wars, Ivan has been the face of tourism – a steady hand showing the world the spirit of his country and how tourism can help to heal the world.”

World Tourism Network VP for International Relations Alain St. Ange said: “Ivan Liptuga of Ukraine is awarded our Tourism Hero Award. The World Travel Network has been following the effort and dedication of the ‘men on the ground’ in Ukraine in their work to keep Ukraine and its culture as a proud country of the Community of Nations.”

Alain St.Ange, WTN VP Intl. Relations

Alain St.Ange said after the decision was made to award Ivan Liptuga the Tourism Hero award, the world needs to continue to recognize those who have gone above and beyond their own duty and responsibilities when faced with the most difficult of adversity. “Ivan Liptuga is one such person and it is our duty to recognize him,” St.Ange stated.

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Nancy Barkley, head of the WTN Destination Wedding group added: “Ivan Liptuga is a tourism hero. He has been a consistent leader and taken action for the National Tourism Organization of Ukraine, even under the heartbreaking conditions of war. I look forward to congratulating him in person.”

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WTN Chairman Juergen Steinmetz speaking at the Islamic Hall of the People in Teheran. (left Louis D’Amore, IIPT)

WTN Chairman Juergen Steinmetz concluded: “If anyone in the history of the World Tourism Network should receive our Hero Award at this time, it is Ivan.

He understands the importance of tourism being the custodian of world peace. He loves his beautiful country; he is a patriot and an ambassador. He is the face and a symbol of all the good and fun that travel and tourism stand for in a normal world. He still believes in tourism and the goodness of people in this very dangerous and no longer normal world. We applaud him and are honored to express our appreciation, our gratitude, and our award.

Scream for Ukraine!

Heroes in tourism
World Tourism Network

“Ivan told World Tourism Network members to scream for Ukraine, and we do. I would also like to encourage all our public sector members and some organizations that are standing back and wanted to be politically correct, to stand up and scream with Ivan. This is not the time to hold back – this is a real threat,” Steinmetz concluded.

More information on World Tourism Network: visit

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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  • In ‘Civilization – the West and the Rest (2011),’ Niall Ferguson writes: “Maybe the ultimate threat to the West comes not from radical Islamism, or any other external source, but from our own lack of understanding of, and faith in, our own cultural heritage … [It is posed] by our own pusillanimity – and by the historical ignorance that feeds it.”

    The horror of Putin’s war in Ukraine shows the alarming outlines of a ‘proxy war’ between ‘the West’ and Russia. Yet this war, too, has its history, revealing both Putin’s incalculable aggressiveness and Europe’s failure since the early 1990s, to convince a then chaos-affected Russia that rather than being regarded as part of “the rest”, this huge country is geographically, culturally and in terms of 85 per cent of its population an essential part of Europe, as embattled Ukraine is. The outcome now could hardly be worse, since the connecting link to a joint rationale is missing.

    “Happy a country that doesn’t need heroes”, as the saying goes, albeit alluding to the indestructible myth of war heroes. In an effort to create and maintain peace, it is up to us to remain alert yet always prepared to find the ‘connecting link’: in a winning spirit, with an open heart, clear words and a smiling face reflecting our living ‘soul’ – the little extra spice to life, yet the greatest treasure at all of hospitality and Travel & Tourism.

    I think this is the real attitude of Tourism Heroes and their strength and energy they show how to live it. These peace-time heroes are radiating even in dark war-times — Ivan Liptuga provides the template.

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