WTN Advocacy: Visit People, not Destinations in War Times

WTN Advocacy
Dr.Taleb Rifai, Prof. Geoffrey Lipman, Juergen Steinmetz

World Tourism Network in an advocacy campaign is speaking out on wars, tourism and young People. Responses are pouring in and shared.

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Former UNWTO Secretary General Dr. Taleb Rifai, SunX President known for his clean and green voice Prof. Geoffrey Lipman, and outspoken WTN Chairman Juergen Steinmetz reached out to World Tourism Network members with a New Years message of hope, asking for a response:

We are, like so many, devastated by the horrific wars in Ukraine and Gaza. 
We do not suggest that we can rationalize or respond rationally to the horrors of innocent deaths. 

Nor can tourism provide solutions 

Rather we believe the past is prologue and that the only hope for positive directions will come from young people – as yet uncontaminated by past and present hatred.

We are calling on all our friends around the tourism world to reflect with us and offer support for our vision of young Palestinians and Israelis or young Ukrainians and Russians building a better future together for their children 

We hope that our many friends in Tourism will simply join us and share a thought for all the innocents.

If you feel this way please take a moment to like this message. Or better still add a comment.

Responses were pouring in to World Tourism Network from its 133 member countries. eTurboNews is sharing some of the comments received (unedited)

Adriana Berg, USA

As a Representative to the United Nations from the International Federation on Ageing and the podcaster for the Global NGO Executive Committee, I see the power of younger people making changes through civil society by having a fresh world view.

But young people do not come with a completely clean slate.

They filter their opinions, attitudes, prejudices and values through those of the elders that raise, educate or otherwise impact them.

We as elders cannot expect a better world from children if we do not set the stage for their future.

One way is by encouraging them to become citizens of the world through travel and do what we can as an industry to foster world travel so that younger people see new and different cultures early in their life, and form relationships that erase fear of the other and prove our human unity.

Ashraf El Gedawy, Egypt

Editor In Chief Almasalla Arabian Travel & Tourism News Portal

If we are serious about stopping wars in the entire world, we must not use double standards in all issues related to humanity and besiege the aggressors and punish them, as well as those who stand with them and support them.

Instead of emptying existential issues of their content, and talking about the future while the future is in the world of the unseen and only God Almighty knows it

We are facing abhorrent humanitarian and racist catastrophes, and the law of the jungle is what governs the world to this day:

“The strong eat the weak” in front of the eyes of all humanity.

We are faced with a mysterious, cursed “veto” that has no meaning, a satanic invention

It was allocated to a group of countries that described themselves as major countries, while the rest of the world was “merely a nebula,” without a word, without a voice, or without power.

If we are serious about stopping the farce of what we are witnessing in audio and video, and let the world’s wise men begin to prepare a new contract for the inhabitants of the planet that is characterized by honesty, justice, and freedom for all, and that rejects violence, hatred, aggression, and extremism.

A new decade for the future of our children on the planet, and not just for the children of Palestine, Israel, Ukraine, and Russia.

Frank Comito, USA

Special Advisor and Former CEO and Director General, Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association

I share your views about the role which the younger generations can and must play to advance societal change.

They have a collective power which they do not realize yet and can be advanced and accelerated through the internet.

Starting a movement through their generation, whereby we are all asked to commit to fundamental core values which can stop the madness and advance a more equitable, representative and responsible world – is within their ability to organize and advance.

They can force change and oust the obstructionists, naysayers, and power-driven forces which left unchecked will accelerate the demise of human-kind.

The frustrations of the younger generations appear to be approaching a tipping point.

Over the Christmas holidays we spent time together as a cross-generational family having great conversations about the state of the world and there is a danger of despair and hopelessness giving way to the negative forces which are mismanaging our world.

Young people need to understand that they can affect positive change.

We need only to look at examples in the US which did move the needle in positive ways and affected policies and attitudes (albeit not sufficiently enough) around issues like racism, sexism, the environment, and war.

While incremental, the activism of earlier generations affected change.

The younger generation is also more inclined to want to experience and embrace other cultures, and as travelists we have the ability to advance this – helping to further break-down the barriers to peace, tolerance, and understanding and to create a greater appreciation for the richness and value in our diversity and commonality of human experiences.

Diana McIntyre-Pike, Jamaica

President/Founder at Countrystyle Community Tourism

I am recommending that we empower the youth of all countries at war to build a better future for themselves and their future generations which includes participating in tourism study tours involving entrepreneurship education and identifying business initiatives within their own environment.

This would involve linking them with successful tourism mentors, especially in community tourism and spiritual counseling.

Dagmar Schreiber, Germany

Green travel scout and guide, freelancer

Dear Taleb, Geoffrey und Thomas. I fully agree with you. Thanks for this letter. I am sure: Tourism IS able to help.

But we have to change our tours. Visit not destinations, but people. Make not only photo shots, but more talks.

See not only the official sights, but real life. And by the way, this is much more interesting!

Melanie LaForce, USA

Screenwriter/Author, Comedian, Social Psychologist. PhD

To have peace we must have some components that come together:

Freedom of the press, access to basic needs such as food, water, and shelter; safety.

Then both sides need to be willing to learn about the other.

Those in power who wish to continue the violence must be stopped.

Above all, both sides might have to give up certain ideas, concepts, preconceptions to find a common link and to work from those links.

Acknowleging that pain exists on both sides is a start.

Using art and music that which cannot be expressed in words is a start. Finding common bonds in spirituality is another must – and then there is travel to open the eyes and our hearts so that we can learn to envision a peaceful world.

Fernando Zornitta, Brazil

Hi Juergen, Taleb and Geoffrey Greetings from Brazil.

ALL FOR THE PLANET, ALL FOR PEACE.

We need to promote a culture of planetary peace, as demons driven by instinct are returning from the darkness and, with the instinct of the beast, only think about destruction and ending humanity’s prospects for evolution.

WHAT TO TAKE AWAY FROM THIS ARTICLE:

  • If we are serious about stopping the farce of what we are witnessing in audio and video, and let the world's wise men begin to prepare a new contract for the inhabitants of the planet that is characterized by honesty, justice, and freedom for all, and that rejects violence, hatred, aggression, and extremism.
  • One way is by encouraging them to become citizens of the world through travel and do what we can as an industry to foster world travel so that younger people see new and different cultures early in their life, and form relationships that erase fear of the other and prove our human unity.
  • As a Representative to the United Nations from the International Federation on Ageing and the podcaster for the Global NGO Executive Committee, I see the power of younger people making changes through civil society by having a fresh world view.

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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