WTTC Global Summit ambitious agenda for Global Tourism
If you wanted to feel the pulse of global tourism’s leadership then the WTTC’s Global Summit was the place to be. Over the past two days (April 26-27) I joined over 1,000 tourism industry leaders from over 70 countries who came together in Bangkok to map out future directions for the global tourism industry.
The summit has foreshadowed the end of one of the great collaborations in global tourism. Dr Taleb Rifai Secretary General of the UN World Tourism Organisation and David Scowsill CEO of the World Travel Tourism Council have both announced the end of their respective terms. Over the past ten years these two outstanding leaders of the world’s dominant global tourism associations have set the tenor for a collaborative approach to tourism leadership and advocacy. They have le3ft very big boots for their successors to fill.
I will be writing a series of stories for ETB Travel News related to the summit. While there, I interviewed some of the movers and shakers in world tourism. The major themes which arose during the two day summit were a common commitment to sustainable tourism. Tourism as a force for protecting the environment, enhancing local communities and benefiting local communities economically were discussed. The issue of risk and crisis management was a second major theme addressed by the summit. The third major theme focussed on innovation and the embrace of technology. It was a clear sentiment of the summit that the tourism industry needs to fight for the safe and secure facilitation of free movement for people between countries.
Major speakers including Dr Taleb Rifai, David Scowsill and former British Prime Minister David Cameron expressed concern that the trend towards populist nationalism and proposals for walls and barriers between countries could be potentially harmful to tourism as the ultimate global industry. It was clear that President Donald Trump would not have received the warm welcome given to the Thai Prime Minister, General Prayut Chan-o Cha.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand were gracious and generous hosts to the 1,000 plus attendees. The Centara Hotel and Convention Centre in Bangkok was a superb venue. The summit dominated the headlines of all media outlets. Thailand as a destination has won many friends among the global travel leadership. On the day following the conference many delegates are visiting some of the major tourism sustainability projects in the Bangkok region.