ITB Berlin News talks to Professor Geoffrey Lipman, President of the International Coalition of Tourism Partners (ICTP), and a veteran of the travel and tourism industry, formerly in leadership positions at the International Air Transport Association (IATA), World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) as its first President & CEO, and at the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).
The International Coalition of Tourism Partners, launched in November 2011, is a global alliance that supports and promotes destinations and their stakeholders, with “a shared belief in well-managed travel and tourism as a driver of community business, jobs, wellbeing, and happiness.” Such “alphabet organizations” have always played a key role in the development of the travel and tourism sector – because it is international by nature, because it can only function through cooperation, and because the collaborative whole is often bigger than the sum of the competitive parts.
But why do we need another one, particularly at a time when the big established players are forming a new collective aligned advocacy coalition and are finally singing the same tune on the economic importance of travel and tourism?
“First, because everyone’s collaborating at the top of the pyramid,” Lipman said, “the G20, UN Assembly, OECD [Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development], UNWTO, WTTC, and the like – yet the actions are really impacting at the bottom. The jobs, export income, and infrastructure investment hit home in local communities, and that’s where the environmental impacts are really being felt. So ICTP is all about expressing a view from the base of the pyramid.”
“The second reason concerns green growth,” he added, “making sure that sustainability gets an equal billing with expansion in the discussions and actions. Not the traditional ‘green indicators’ and ‘towels in the bathroom’ debates inside the industry, but rather about the broader realities of climate response, resource efficiency, social inclusion, and responsibility – taking on board our interests as a lead sector, paying a fair share of the costs, and accessing the large amounts of investment that are coming on stream. ICTP wants to see those funds flow to green growth committed travel and tourism communities.”
“Third, it’s not just about the glamour of playing on the world stage,” Lipman said, “It’s the execution that matters – so ICTP works with partners to help communities compete more effectively for new markets, while strengthening sustainability programs and securing finance to implement green growth transformation.” He added, “And we work with members to share good practices, extend small budgets, improve education, and access funding for green growth projects.”
Lipman is equally adamant about what ICTP does not want to be. “We will not be a lobbying body, although we will from time to time express views on what we believe are self-evident realities that others may not want or be able to express. Nor do we see ourselves as an alternative to the other excellent bodies that are supporting the travel and tourism sector at public, private, and civil society level – internationally, regionally, nationally, and locally. Rather we will be a valuable complement – hopefully allowing ICTP members to amplify the benefits from participation in these organizations’ programs and events – by our focus on quality and green growth, our unique presentation of members’ commitments, and our value-added support services.”
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