At the 50th Annual Congress of the International Hotel and Restaurant Association (IH&RA) held in Istanbul, Turkey, outgoing President Ghassan Aidi inducted Professor Geoffrey Lipman, president of the International Coalition of Tourism Partners as a Chevalier d’Honneur of the Association.
Citing Lipman’s commitment over 40 years as Executive Director at IATA (International Air Transport Association), President of WTTC (World Travel & Tourism Council), and Assistant Secretary General of UNWTO (UN World Tourism Organization), Aidi said that “He has always been a leading advocate of travel and tourism as a force for positive change – economic, social, and above all environmental.” He recalled his driving the landmark Davos Conference on Climate Change which sought to establish a positive sectoral response and thoughtful pursuit of sustainable development.” He noted that only 30 such awards had been made in the 160-year history of the association.
In his response, expressing appreciation for the award, Lipman said, “I am delighted that this came at a time when IH&RA has weathered the storms of recent years and is re-energising itself as a global hospitality leader.” He paid special tribute to Dr. Aidi’s vision and advocacy for the private industry and committed that ICTP would collaborate closely with IH&RA in the common quest for green growth in the sector.
During the meeting Lipman reiterated the inevitable intensifying impacts of climate change – evidenced by extreme weather – and underscored the vulnerability of the sector with inadequate response – particularly the poorest tourism dependent communities. But he also emphasised the potential travel and tourism has as a transformation agent if it implements green growth strategies now. He said, “We must drive the green agenda in complete lockstep with the growth agenda - they are mutually reinforcing.”