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6 Dec, 2011

How to Prevent Travel & Tourism From Falling Victim to Global Crises

BANGKOK – An exclusive report produced by Travel Impact Newswire has identified a significant disconnect between the development agendas being pursued by global leaders and the travel/tourism industry. Unless and until this disconnect is narrowed, or plugged entirely, travel & tourism will continue falling victim to the repeated global crises, the report warns.

Produced by the newly-established research unit of Travel Impact Newswire, the report entitled “Travel & Tourism in the New World Order” says that the shifting global balance of power will be the most important factor influencing events in the second decade of the 21st century. Either for better or for worse, travel & tourism will be significantly affected by the triad of Economic, Ecological and Geopolitical issues, what the report calls “The EEG Factor”.

In seeking to identify these root “EEG Factor” causes of global turbulence, Imtiaz Muqbil, Executive Editor of Travel Impact Newswire, went right to the top – to the policies and perspectives voiced by the global leaders at the 66th annual General Assembly session of the United Nations last September.

In an exercise never before undertaken in the global travel industry, Muqbil “mined” more than 1,200 pages of 196 speeches to identify key statements that could prove of game-changing value to policy- and decision-makers in the travel, tourism and transport industries. This report highlights the issues raised by:

1) The emerging powers of Brazil, China, India, Russia and South Africa;

2) The growing group of female leaders (for the first time the General Assembly was inaugurated by a female leader, Ms Dilma Rousseff, President of Brazil, and featured a line-up of 16 female country representatives); and

3) The leaders of the small and medium sized countries (SMCs), especially the island nations and those in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Says the report, “Uplifted by the Arab spring and the Occupy Wall Street movements, leaders of many small & medium sized countries, including women from 16 countries, used the historic 66th UN General Assembly last September to make plain their hopes, aspirations, concerns and misgivings about the current drift in global trends.”

Here is what one leader said: “I feel that here today, I represent all the women of the world. The nameless women, those who starve and cannot feed their children. Those who are wracked by illness and cannot receive treatment. Those who suffer violence and who are discriminated in their jobs, their societies, and their family life. Those who labor in the home to raise future generations.”

Here’s another: “The disproportionate pollution of the environment by industrialized countries, and the resultant impact on global warming and climate change, cannot be remedied with any semblance of justice by imposing harsh restraints on developing countries which have contributed very little to aggravation of the problem.”

One more: “It is generally agreed today that the current global crisis has been caused by deficiencies in the global financial system. However, no significant steps to address its flaws have yet been taken. Procrastination in tackling this issue will result in new violent waves of the crisis and a surge of regional and global instability.”

Targeted at decision-makers and policy-makers in the travel & tourism industry, as well as serious students of industry policy, the report is designed to drive positive change for what is claimed to be one of the world’s largest economic sectors by broadening both the context and content of the changes impacting it across the board.

In doing so, it helps forge a link between international development agendas and tourism development agendas. It says, “Any serious industry policy- or decision-maker will immediately see the impact of these key external factors on the industry.” By highlighting the importance given to them by world leaders themselves, the report may well help the travel & tourism industry craft a new, more holistic future development model.

Says the report, “Raising the level of discourse in industry forums is long overdue. It will underpin the stability and sustainability of the industry and perhaps, by extension, of the world at large. Proving the economic importance and resilience of travel & tourism is no longer the issue. Helping the industry deal with the root causes, the repeated “external shocks”, has become far more important.”

Says the report, “More than ever before, the industry needs to “prepare, prevent and pre-empt”. As one of the world’s most important industries from an economic, ecological, social, cultural and geopolitical standpoints, it needs to start vigorously influencing change rather than being constantly influenced by it.”

It notes that the General Assembly President Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser closed the 66th session with these words: “Without question, it has been an historic and unforgettable debate. Many Member States paid tribute to the hope awakened by the shifts taking place around the world, where people are actively questioning their systems of governance.

“World leaders praised the courage of those people who fought for freedom, dignity and democracy, and made it clear that governments cannot suppress their people without accountability. We welcomed the new leaders who came to this Hall to express the hopes and needs of their nations.

“And they called on the international community to assist in the fulfillment of their populations’ aspirations for the rule of law, transparency, prosperity, justice and human rights, including responsible freedom of expression.”

The speeches showed that the world is clearly split between rich and poor, haves and have-nots, powerful and powerless. Although SMC leaders yearn for “Change They Can Believe In”, many have misgivings about the trend of globalisation and growing mistrust about the ability of modern day institutions and power-structures, including the United Nations, to deliver results.

They leaders want to see a new world order that is just, balanced and fair, but fear what the report calls “the polarisation of globalisation” — a world in which they lose control of their ability to influence events.

The challenge for travel & tourism is to assess the way forward and do a clear risk-assessment of ALL the “external shocks” that have destabilised the industry in the last 10 years and those which could continue do the same in the second decade.

“The time to blindly follow the Pied Piper of Hamelin is over,” the report says. “ In the wake of the “Arab spring”, ignoring the views of the SMCs is no longer possible. The “voiceless” have found a “voice”. They are only going to grow louder.”

The report offers an eight-point set of recommendations to facilitate the designing of a new tourism roadmap for the 21st century. In another ground-breaking move, Muqbil has dedicated the report to “the rank-and-file people who depend on the global travel & tourism industry for their daily sustenance, are most affected by external shocks and unable to hold anyone accountable.”

Please click here to order the report.