The International Coalition of Tourism Partners (ICTP) supports Myanmar’s bold new tourism leap and calls for green growth leadership. ICTP is a fast growing Hawaii, Brussels and Seychelles-based global alliance of more than 100 tourism destinations, associations and private stakeholders as members.
Attending the World Economic Forum’s East Asia Summit today, Professor Geoffrey Lipman, President of ICTP and a Member of the WEF’s Global Agenda Council complimented the government of Myanmar on its newly-released Tourism Master Plan.
Presenting “Sustainability Principles” on behalf of the Forum’s “High Level Travel&Tourism Meeting” to U Atay Aung, the Union Minister of Hotels and Tourism Lipman said that “We all believe enthusiastically in Myanmar’s vision and strategic planning to boost tourism as a vital tool for development, job creation and nation building – we also believe that with our continuing collective support, embodied in these “Guiding Principles for Sustainability” in the sector, you will be able to put green on the same page as growth.”
Lipman, who will moderate the Forum’s Travel&Tourism session also released a full supportive statement from The International Coalition of Tourism Partners (ICTP) as set out below.
Travel&Tourism – Shaping a Green Growth Roadmap for Myanmar
Myanmar is at a vital crossroads in its economic and social re-awakening. It is one of the real examples in our lifetimes of a country with a chance to move rapidly and constructively from the backwaters into the mainstream of global affairs, and to deal positively with its own transformational challenges and opportunities, while coping with those of the new orient centric, BRICS buoyant, hyper-connected world into which it is emerging.
It is clearly more than symbolic that the World Economic Forum is holding its East Asia Summit in Nay Pyi Taw – the modern regenerated capital of an ancient community, which has always been at the crossroads of Asia’s turbulent growth. It’s a sign of real confidence in the country and its socio-political evolution, from the worlds’ top business, government and civil society leaders who will be present.
Given the Summit’s theme of “Courageous Transformation for Inclusion and Integration,” there is arguably no more relevant and challenging issue on its agenda than travel and tourism. This cross-sectoral, transformational activity has emerged in the past decade as one of the new change agents for economic and social inclusion and a pillar of the development framework.
Travel and tourism has become one of the most dynamic drivers of the global economy, accounting directly and indirectly for 5-10% of global GDP, jobs and trade. It tracks closely the ebbs and flows of national and regional economic patterns and is way ahead of the curve in relation to today’s pivotal job creation focus. At the same time it is an activity that every year moves billions of people around the planet domestically and internationally, with important carbon footprint, capacity impact and resource consumption dimensions.
Here then is a key challenge for the new Myanmar, which has jumped up every traveler’s “must visit” wish list and, of course, is a massive growth opportunity for the travel industry and all of the other sectors that are cross fertilized by it. How to balance the potential positives for trade, job creation, nation building and community well-being, with the potential negatives of congestion, exploitation and resource depletion? How to do this in a coherent, measured way that is in the vanguard of socio-economic transformation while ensuring that environment, human and climate impacts are kept within tolerable limits? Above all, how to do this while safeguarding the authenticity and beauty, which is the essence of the country and its people?
Fortunately Myanmar is putting in place a plan for the progressive long-term sustainable development of the sector. With the support of the international finance and development community, as well as the active encouragement of the Forum’s Global Agenda Council, the Minister of Hotels and Tourism, U Htay Aung will unveil a first draft of a master plan for the sector, during the East Asia Summit. It is a welcome and timely initiative. And also a courageous sign of the vision of the government to lay out its plans for open discussion of a central development issue for public peer review and input before not after the decisions have been made.
As President of the International Coalition of Tourism Partners – a grass roots organization of tourism destinations and stakeholders committed to green growth and quality – and as a participant in the Forum’s Travel and Tourism Summit, I welcome the foresight and leadership of the government of Myanmar. We look forward to a plan that starts by putting green on the same page as growth and commits to pursuing both goals in harmony and at the same pace.