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In what feels the blink of an eye, 2017 nears the end of its first quarter. Businesses worldwide are busy keeping their heads down to meet targets, deliver results, and protect competitiveness. The focus on the numbers can so easily eclipse the need to keep the future close in one’s sights.
However, as leaders in the global Travel & Tourism (T&T) industry know all too well, the value of T&T is measured far beyond the bottom line. Jobs. Skills development. Revenues. Investment. Trade. Identity. Understanding. Unity. Competitiveness. Sustainability. These are the metric that matter. These are the metrics that need to be mobilized and maximized. These are the foundations.
With the United Nations’ International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development (IY2017) in full swing, UN agencies across the alphabet and globe, under the leadership of the UNWTO, are applying their focus on getting the message out, loud and clear, that the force for good that is tourism is an increasingly needed global movement.
There is no denying the challenges that we face as a global community today – challenges that threaten to remain with us for generations to come. Cross-border conflicts at ideological level demonstrate, daily, that in the minds of many, our challenges can so easily be tackled by building walls, keeping nations of the world apart to keep the peace.
But the reality is that it is not walls that will create peace, it is bridges.
It is the ability of people to freely and keenly cross borders in the quest to learn about, understand and embrace differences, that creates a global community bonded by trust.
The beauty and blessing of travel is its ability to inspire humility – an inner voice of quiet understanding, appreciation and respect that comes from being welcomed into someone else’s world as a guest, learning about others – their lives, their loves, their hopes, and in so doing, learning more about oneself.
For this reason, engagement of the global travelling community, the over 1.2 billion international travelers worldwide, forms an important part of IY2017. It is these billions of ambassadors for global unity and peace who are on the front line of shaping the future of tourism – our future in tourism.
TRAVELLERS AS TOURISM’S GREATEST ADVOCATES
Which is exactly why one future-focused leader, The Travel Corporation’s (TTC) Chief Executive, Brett Tollman – has committed to IY2017, not just philosophically, but as a partner of the UNWTO, championing the critical role of tourism across the globe, one traveler at a time.
“I believe strongly and passionately that we ALL have a role to play in the protection and preservation of our magnificent planet, its diminishing resources, precious cultures, artifacts. If we all did more, global warming (YES, I do believe it exists and threatens our children’s and our grandchildren’s future) can be tackled and reduced. It’s not just up to governments and industry. By companies like ours and many others supporting the UNWTO and in turn, sharing the IY2017 vision with our guests and travelers (customers), we are hopefully helping to further the goals of and help achieve the brilliant Secretary General of the UNWTO, Dr. Taleb Rifai’s core objectives by launching the IY2017.
We at TTC and our30 award-winning, proud brands, run by very passionate caring people, certainly do want to help make a difference in many of these areas, where we can.
Every bit helps, as there is so much to do, and no one person, company nor government can do it enough nor all – but together, through better information sharing and understanding, then getting interested hopefully and then starting to get involved, we can achieve great things together in these areas.”
IMPATIENCE FOR IMPACT
Turning support into action, Tollman is committed to turning his award-winning portfolio of businesses into platforms for uplifting global awareness, and he is putting his money and his commitment where his mouth is.
“Our investment in the partnership with the UNWTO, both as an Affiliate Member and as a Diamond Sponsor of the UN International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development (UN IY2017) is important for our global business in several ways:
• Firstly, it reaffirms our long-standing commitment and engagement with important industry organizations like the UNWTO, in addition to our long-standing membership in World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC – of which we’ve been a proud and active member for over 20 years – which works closely with UNWTO to keep our borders open to travel) and other industry bodies, like many other caring, committed travel and hospitality companies).
• We believe in best practice sharing and collaboration, wherever possible and appropriate. So, confirming our commitment to UNWTO also gives us access to a phenomenal group of people who work at and with the UNWTO – their events, their research and reports, all which makes us better informed, helps us extend this knowledge and makes us better at monitoring, measuring and sustaining momentum of our efforts to make a positive impact.
• We are proud to be associating with such renowned, recognized leaders, helping reinforce the need for more companies and people to get engaged with, and involved around, the SDG’s. These are global goals, for the global community to address together.
• We are taking a proactive approach to helping spread the word of the importance of global travel across the millions of travelers our company reaches through our trusted brands. We are perfectly placed to keep building awareness, and in turn involvement, in the ability of tourism to act as a true force for good, for all.”
Typically, such global campaigns as IY2017 would immediately attract the attention of governments, NGOs and other non-commercial entities. Tollman’s TTC was the first consumer-facing corporation to step forward, partnering with the UNWTO for the duration of 2017, with clear cross-business plans and priorities for support through the TTC portfolio, as well as the company’s TreadRight Foundation.
This leadership by example was quick to catch the eye and admiration of the UNWTO’s Secretary General, Dr. Taleb Rifai.
“UNWTO is very proud to have The Travel Corporation (TTC) as a partner of International Year. Across three generations of Tollman family leadership, TTC through its business and its TreadRight Foundation, has evolved to become a reflection of excellence in delivering traveler experiences that are grounded in the core principles of social, economic, cultural and environmental sustainability. Great admiration is also held for their efforts in building traveler awareness around the positive impact that travelers themselves, can make on the communities and places they visit.”
Tollman’s motivations for taking his corporation to the front line of IY2017’s aspirations are clear. He’s tired of the talk. Now is the time for action, in his company and right across the global industry:
“There is no time to wait nor waste – the time is NOW for many more to get involved and help. It is our collective ONE planet, and we all live here – there is nowhere else to go, certainly not anytime soon, and so we need to get on with tackling these issues – together. #TRAVELENJOYRESPECT.”
eTN is a partner with the CNN Task Group.
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