Dr. Taleb Rifai receives IIPT Lifetime Achievement Award
The International Institute for Peace through Tourism (IIPT) recently honoured seven outstanding people from the world of travel and tourism as “Global Ambassadors of Peace through Tourism” at World Travel Market (WTM), London. Dr. Taleb Rifai, Secretary-General of UNWTO, was conferred with the IIPT Lifetime Achievement Award as a “Global Man of Peace.”
In his keynote address, Dr. Rifai said that for the 7th consecutive year, the growth in tourism had exceeded growth in other sectors. However, he added that tourism is far more than numbers and statistics. To travel is a basic human right. Quoting Mark Twain he said, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness.”
The 1.8 billion tourists expected to travel the world by 2030 could be 1.8 billion opportunities or 1.8 billion disasters – the choice, he said, is ours. There is no conflict between growth and sustainability, he said, because sustainability is beyond “Going Green” it’s about sustaining life on Earth. “As I come to the end of my journey as Secretary-General,” he said “the thought I would like to leave with is ‘Whatever you do, do it to make the world a better place.’”
D’Amore, Founder President, IIPT, said, “IIPT is privileged and grateful to pay tribute to Dr. Taleb Rifai for his global leadership these past eight years. We have been most honoured to have Dr. Rifai grace the stage at IIPT WTM events as our featured keynote speaker over the past several years – and to have his unwavering support for IIPT initiatives in our mission to make the travel and tourism industry – the world’s first global peace industry. We look forward to a continuing relationship with him in the years ahead as we join hands in efforts to promote the transformative role of tourism in “making the world a better place.
Ajay Prakash, President, IIPT India, said, “As the UN International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development draws to a close, it’s important to accept that the work is far from complete and that we need to carry the impetus forward into the years ahead. While it’s axiomatic that peace is vital to the promotion of tourism, it is important to reiterate that tourism can be a vital force for the propagation of peace and this can happen only if the concept of Peace through Tourism forms part of the core business philosophy of the tourism industry.”
Commenting on the rationale of the awards, Prakash continued, “Because tourism is so people-centric it is important to recognize and honour exceptional persons in the field who can serve as role models and inspire others to carry the baton.”
The theme of the awards event was “Tourism – A Catalyst for Peace”, featuring Dr. Rifai as the Keynote Speaker. Supported by “Incredible India” and the UNWTO, this first edition of the Awards was sponsored by Cox & Kings.
IIPT plans to make the “Ambassadors of Peace Through Tourism” awards an annual feature at WTM London.