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International Tourism Hall of Heroes Honors 16 Re-Builders

Today is World Tourism Day 2020. The global travel and tourism industry is under attack due to the COVID-19 epidemic. Millions of jobs are in danger or already eliminated.  There are the known movers and shakers, and there are the new sometimes not so known movers and shakers. They make cause some “good trouble”, representing a new generation of activists based on late US Congressman John Lewis’ indelible legacy. is such a group of tourism leaders from 119 countries that came together when the pandemic became the largest threat the travel and tourism world ever faced. started with a breakfast planned at the Grand Hyatt Berlin in cooperation with Safer Tourism, PATA, and eTurboNews on March 5, 2020, during a (canceled) ITB Berlin The discussion took place without ITB and continued virtually on on March 25, 2020 with Dr. Peter Tarlow and Juergen Steinmetz.

Today is World Tourism Day and introduced its International Tourism Hall of Heroes.

Ministers, CEO, General Managers, Travel agents, journalists, tour guides. “We are all in this together”, said co-founder Juergen Steinmetz, who is also the publisher of eTurboNews. Dr. Taleb Rifai, a two-term secretary-general of the United Nations World Tourism Organization is a mentor and one of the most active members in this group.

Dr. Peter Tarlow, an expert in travel and tourism safety and security brings 25 years of experience in. He joined today’s virtual World Tourism Heroes celebration right before he started celebrating Yom Kippur. Peter is also a rabbi in Texas.

There are two sitting ministers in this group, both unique in their global mindset and influence. The Hon Secretary Najib Balala from Kenya was the first minister accepting the Safer Tourism Seal for his country and became the first tourism hero on August 27. The Secretary also is chair of the UNWTO Executive Council.

Today the Hon. Edmund Bartlett, Minister of Tourism for Jamaica was one honored and received the tourism heroes’ recognition. The Minister is also head of the UNWTO Regional Commission for the Americas, and a founding member and driving force behind the Global Tourism Resilience & Crisis Management Centre headquartered in Jamaica with Centers in Nepal, Malta, Kenya, Japan, and other countries. Also from Jamaica Diana McIntyre-Pike was honored with her place in the International Tourism Hall of Heroes for her role as a leader of community tourism and in the training of communities in entrepreneurship.

Alain St. Ange was the former Minister of Tourism in the Republic of Seychelles and is currently a candidate for president. He is also president of the African Tourism Board and has been instrumental at so many global initiatives over the years.

Ambassador Dho Young-shim from the Republic of Korea (South Korea) is the Chairperson of the UN World Tourism Organizations Sustainable Tourism for Eliminating Poverty Foundation. Madam Dho is known for moving mountains to better the tourism industry. She usually does this quietly and in the background and not often get recognized for the role she plays in global tourism leadership.

There is Professor Geoffrey Lipman with an impressive resume as the founding chair of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), Deputy Secretary-General of UNWTO, and now head of SunX in Malta. He has been a mover and shaker for decades and has one goal: Climate-friendly travel.

There is Tom Jenkins, CEO of ETOA in London who recently gave his vision on European Travel to, when he was presented the hero recognition. Eng Dr. Walter Mzembi was one of the longest-serving ministers of tourism in Africa for Zimbabwe; Aleksandra Gardasevic Siavuijica from Montenegro represents now in the Balkan Region.

Vijay Poonoosamy is the Singapore Director for the Q1 Group, Honorary Member of the Hermes Air Transport Organization, a non-executive member of the Board of Veling Group, and was the former VP for Etihad Airways. He is also on the Advisory Board of the World Tourism Forum Lucerne and of the World Economic Forum’s Gender Parity Steering Committee. He joined the heroes celebration at 3 am his time in Singapore today. Cuthbert Ncube, is the Chairman of the African Tourism Board based in South Africa. He said:” It is a new Dawn as we Usher in the Voice of Africa by Africa in Africa. It’s the birth of the African Tourism Board (ATB) whose mandate is to drive the vision and the aspirations of more than 1,323,568,478 people in Africa.”

Washington DC-based Maricar Dionato is a brand ambassador for the World Federation of Tourist Guide Association. She was honored for her role in tourism and how she saved the life of a fellow tourism industry professional who was stranded in Washington for many weeks during COVID-19. Mona Nafta from Jordan praised Maricar as a shining star in the global world of tourism today. Mona Nafta is an Arab American tourism professional living in Amman, Jordan.

New York-based Louis D’Amore was honored today for his amazing role over decades a the founder and president of the International Institute for Peace Through Tourism (IIPT). Because of he is now working with the African Tourism Board on a Peace Through Tourism summit.

In alone there are more than 1000 emerging heroes from 119 countries ready to position the new reality of tourism. Everyone is invited to participate and to be nominated for the International Tourism Hall of Heroes. Meet the 16 Tourism Heroes rebuilding travel on World Tourism Day!



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