The inaugural general meeting of the International Council of Tourism Partners (ICTP) was held on July 7 in the Seychelles and in conjunction with meetings of Routes Africa, the Vanilla Islands Association, and RETOSA. ICTP reviewed its past year’s growth, as well as plans for the year ahead, and signed partnership agreements with participants from the other meetings.
Under the Chairmanship of Alain St. Ange, Minister of Tourism and Culture of the Seychelles, the International Council of Tourism Partners (ICTP) announced a series of initiatives to advance its mission of promoting green growth and quality.
St.Ange said: “ICTP fills a vital gap in the global travel and tourism framework, with its membership for destinations and its engagement of people directly. In the end, tourism is about people – the benefits it brings in terms of jobs and improved lifestyles; the positive impacts on communities that it brings if sustainably planned and managed; the interaction of its customers, hosts, and staff.” He pledged to help increase the exposure of the organization’s principles and policies in the African region generally and the Vanilla Islands specifically, announcing the establishment of a new regional base in Seychelles.
Juergen Thomas Steinmetz, Chair of ICTP, said that the organization had been growing every day since it had introduced a new inclusionary membership strategy at World Travel Market last year, with an emphasis on promoting win-win partnerships among members and new forms of electronic collaboration. He said: “With 67 destinations, 18 partner associations; 11 educational institutions; and private tourism stakeholders, including hotels and tour operators, we now have a growing critical mass of destinations, associations, individuals, and media from every continent and major travel and tourism market. The most gratifying factor is that so many industry organizations are joining the partnership in order to creatively support green growth and quality.”
Steinmetz added that he was also personally gratified to see the widespread expansion of the “media friends” reverberating the messages and programs of ICTP and its members. He also commented on the practice of ICTP to be present at the key industry events to give its members visibility at no cost and to build joint programs. He said: “Routes is a perfect example of how this kind of mutual support can help destinations, along with the longstanding engagement with IMEX, which can add value to the quest for green meetings. The newly-announced partnership with SKAL can also give a special value to the role of people within the industry.” He paid tribute to the commitment of Minister St.Ange and his vision in bringing the different organizations together to advance their common goals in delivering quality tourism experiences.
He also thanked IIPT President and Founder Louis D’Amore, and Felix Chaila, CEO of the Zambia Tourism Board, to allow the initial soft launch of ICTP during the IIPT summit in Lusaka. Steinmetz went on to thank attending Elisa Grandcourt , CEO of the Seychelles Tourism Board, for her tireless effort. He thanked attending Pascal Viroleux of the La Reunion Tourism Board for his vision and support as a founding member. Steinmetz introduced current Academy members and their input to form this alliance. Academy members currently include tourism boards representing Johannesburg, South Africa, Rwanda, Richmond Virginia USA, Grenada, as well as private organizations: Travel Registry Management (.travel) and Simpleview, an award-winning CRM, CMS, and SEM solution website.
ICTP agreed on a number of initiatives, while confirming its overall focus on green growth and quality and its specific programs to support sustainable aviation growth, streamlined border flows, and fair coherent taxes.
The alliance consolidated its structure for membership, partnership, and advisors, with open access to the organization, and affirmed its commitment to work with and support other industry and government travel and tourism bodies. In this context, it congratulated WTTC, UNWTO, IATA, and WEF on the recent G20 communique on increasing jobs through increased streamlined travel and pledged its help in advancing this program.
ICTP also established a special focus on developing electronic-based educational and training modules based on green growth and quality for integration with school, university, and vocational systems. It identified entertainment, sports, culture, and food as special areas of interest and expansion in the years ahead. This included the appointment of platinum record singer, Alston Koch, as an Advisor with a special focus in this area.
The ICTP alliance also commended the valuable work of its partner, the International Institute for Peace through Tourism (IIPT) in encouraging peace through tourism, and appointed IIPT’s Founder and President, Louis D’Amore, as an Advisor with a special focus in this area.
ICTP also agreed to consolidate its interest in carnivals and similar high-profile events with an engagement program to be released at the Seychelles Carnival in 2013. The alliance decided to lend its support to the development of the Natural Step Sustainability Program and appointed Jan Peter Bergkvist as an Advisor with a special focus in this area.
The group committed to develop a study and proposal on essential air services for the Vanilla Island Association, and also agreed to support the initiative of its member, Rwanda Tourism, to promote biodiversity conservation through protection of the gorilla populations and to partner in a global children’s gorilla naming competition in 2013. It was also decided that ICTP would hold a series of community-based Think Tanks on green growth and travelism, using its website www.tourismpartners.org .