Change, for the benefit of the country, and change for the betterment of the People is necessary to avoid stagnation, which is often the result of the same old record playing for much too long. This statement leads to my quote for this week by Albert Einstein:-
“The measure of intelligence is the ability to change”
This edition of the Saint Ange Tourism Report is being issued following the important UNWTO 22nd General Assembly (11 – 16 September) that just ended in Chengdu in China. UNWTO has a new Secretary General-elect in the name of Zurab Pololikashvili of Georgia. Following his election by the 105th UNWTO Executive Council earlier this year (12th May) in Madrid Spain, the Organisation’s General Assembly has confirmed the election of Mr Pololikashvili.
The World of Tourism needs to move ahead and unite behind the new Secretary General of the UNWTO who will be assuming office on the 01 January 2018. The Saint Ange Tourism Report takes this opportunity to wish Zurab Pololikashvili of Georgia success in his new position.
This 22nd UNWTO General Assembly in Chengdu was also the opportunity to publicly show the respect and admiration by the world of tourism for Dr Taleb Rifai, the outgoing Secretary General of the Organisation. After his skilful, diplomatic and human style manoeuvring at the confirmation procedures for his replacement, he was given a standing ovation. Dr Rifai could not hold back his emotions and shed a tear.
A Tweet by Anita Mendiratta of CNN Task said it all:- “Global leaders at the UNWTO General Assembly in standing ovation to salute outgoing SecGen Dr Rifai for his invaluable 8yrs of leadership.”
Congratulations are also extended to Minister Najib Balala, the Tourism Minister of Kenya who was elected the new Head of CAF (Commission for Africa). Africa has made a good choice. It is always important when electing people to such positions to look at the country to see if they are a benchmark or not for the tourism industry. The Minister of Tourism for Kenya will now lead CAF for the new term ending 2019.
The two African Vice Presidents of the 2017 UNWTO General Assembly were Minister Lai Mohammed of Nigeria and Minister Jose da Silva Gonzalves of Cabo Verde. Both did Africa proudly. Seychelles has also proudly retained its seat in the UNWTO Executive Council for a further two years. The Minister of Argentina was duly elected Chairman of the Executive Council, and the Ministers of Zambia and India as the two Vice Chairmen. Minister Maurice Loustau-Lalanne accompanied by his PS Anne Lafortune, Seychelles Ambassador to China Vivienne Fock-Tave, Jean Luc Lai-Lam, Seychelles Tourism Board’s Manager for China and Rachel Shen also of the island’s Embassy in China attended the UNWTO General Assembly.
I also take this opportunity to officially congratulate Dr Taleb Rifai, the outgoing Secretary General of the UNWTO for a job well done. His two consecutive terms of office clearly display his successes through his personal drive that was aimed at uniting the world of tourism. I wish Dr Rifai and Mrs Nisrine Rifai and their family good health and continued happiness.
The challenges for the tourism industry will not be getting any easier. The need to regroup to deliver a consolidated tourism industry is today more important than ever. This is why I am reporting today on the Cleverdis Group with their Hotel & Tourism Magazine. Gerard Lefebvre, the President & CEO of the group was also in Chengdu and we had the opportunity to discuss tourism trade fairs and trends coupled with existing opportunities. They are the producers of most of the official publications for the important tourism trade fairs and their opinion matters.
BRAND AFRICA was also a topic discussed on the sidelines of the UNWTO General Assembly. Many of the Tourism Ministers or Country Representatives discussed the drive by PMAESA, the (Ports Management Association of Eastern and Southern Africa) and their “Cruise Africa” drive. From North to South, from East to West, the African States who feel they have facilities and the potential to receive Cruise Ships or to develop cruising in rivers, waterways and lakes are today ready to move together as one.
I was personally able, as a Consultant contracted by PMAESA to open discussions with Congo Brazzaville, Nigeria, DRC, Morocco, Algeria and Cote D’Ivoire to name but a few. All are welcoming the work being done to give a needed push to Cruising in Africa, and this inclusive of the registration of the “Cruise Africa” name that has already been affected. But as Africa looks at it narrative, it is important that Tourism for All is echoed with respect as the principle guiding Africa.
President Nelson Mandela of South Africa coined the Rainbow Nation tagline for South Africa showing how proud he was of the diversity that makes South Africa strong. May this vision that goes beyond the colour of skin, of religion, of political affiliation, of gender and of disabilities among others, remain the mission of Africa and its Brand Africa.
Until next time, I bid you Bon Voyage.
Saint Ange Consultancy. www.alainstange.net
Read more: Saint Ange Tourism Newsletter – 15th Edition
Topics featured in the 15th edition include:
- Peter Sinon meets SCCI Chairman on ‘Consultation Kick Off for Tax Reform’
Editor’s note: Opinions on the appointment of Mr Zurab Pololikashvili as the new UNWTO Secretary-General differ. Read my opinion piece ‘Is this man fit to hold Tourism’s highest office?‘ Only time will tell if Pololikashvili is capable of leading the UNWTO and following in the footsteps left by his predecessor Dr Taleb Rifai.