By Dr. Taleb Rifai
Travel and tourism has become a major force of globalization, developing and accelerating at a phenomenon pace over the past decades. With improved connectivity, and major innovations in telecommunications and the web, the rate of growth of this sector has been accelerating at record height to stand out as one of the main economic pillars for destinations across the world.
The International Tourism and Investment Conference (ITIC) 2019 is meant to trigger a new thought process in tourism development in the wake of new technological innovation which is now being driven by block chain and artificial intelligence amidst changing geo-political forces.
Whilst world tourism is characterized by large inflows of visitors to Europe, America and Asia and Pacific, the potentials for tourism development in Africa are simply enormous. In focusing on the such developing regions, it is particularly important to highlight the contributions of island destinations in world tourism, as these are very attractive and are becoming the focus of the new generation of world travellers., yet they are particularly more vulnerable.
Likewise, the role of tourism towards more job and wealth creation signals a need for greater women participation and youth involvement in this dynamic industry. Empowering women and our youth to embark on a new and challenging mission for tourism should entail bigger investment and creativity for greater returns and value addition.
ITIC 2019 that will be held in November 2019 in London aims at addressing some of the key issues impacting on travel and tourism with a focus on investment potentials in new destinations, women entrepreneurship, youth empowerment and innovation. A wide cross-section of the business community is expected to participate in this important conference, which will also coincide with the World Travel Market. It will be an ideal platform to meet with key decision-makers, tourism developers, high net worth individuals and hotel promoters in search of new opportunities, as well as consultants and sector specialists from different parts of the world.
The travel and tourism industry has a bright future ahead. The shape and dimension of this industry depends on our vision and actions so it could generate higher returns on investment whilst opening a gateway to new business opportunities for those who dare.
It is therefore a great honor for me to invite you to attend ITIC 2019 ,to held immediately before WTM in London ,so we may all benefit from our collective experience under one roof and thus trigger a new thought leadership for a new economic vision for tourism. Let us join hands together to propel tourism to greater heights for economic wellbeing, social advancement, and innovation.
Beyond its economic importance to societies, our sector is yet fulfilling another noble mission. Tourism is a process of cultural exchange . It is a sector that deals primarily with human beings in search of experience, wellness and prosperity in a spirit of harmonious interactions with peoples of different origins, cultures and lifestyles.
Defining new pathways and investing in tourism is bound to create a new momentum that should help Governments, the business community and host nations at large to reap the benefits of tourism in a responsible, equitable and sustainable manner. It is just a matter of vision peppered with a good dose of audacity. Let us therefore follow our common dreams and see you all soon at ITIC 2019.
The writer is the Chairman ITIC Advisory Board and Former Secretary-General, UNWTO