It took just one short email for World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvil’s Azerbaijani chief of staff to destroy three years of hard work and expectation by Louis D’Amore, known as the man behind Peace Through Tourism. D’Amore is the founder and president of the International Institute for Peace Through Tourism (IIPT). IIPT is recognized and highly respected worldwide.

It took this short email in March to step on the role, legacy, and work of former UNWTO Secretary General Dr. Taleb Rifai. Rifai was an outspoken supporter of Louis D’Amore and peace through tourism.  Dr. Taleb Rifai joined IIPT as the head of their advisory committee.

The email by the UNWTO chief of staff simply said: “UNWTO decided to no longer have a part in the IIPT – UNWTO summit planned for August in Montreal, Canada.”

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvil personally did not contact Louis D’Amore or was available for a discussion.

There was no further explanation given. Dr. Rifai made sure when he left UNWTO the cooperation with IIPT was on solid ground. A former executive director trusted to work with IIPT on the Summit was terminated from UNWTO on December 31, 2017.

Today IIPT issued the following statement:

“IIPT was advised in early 2018 that UNWTO would continue to be involved in the Summit as originally planned.  However, we learned in mid-March that UNWTO would not be involved. Subsequently, the major source of funding anticipated for the Summit did not materialize. We are, therefore, unfortunately, having to cancel the summit.

We sincerely regret any inconvenience this may cause.

IIPT was very much looking forward to its 30th-anniversary‘ family reunion’ – and our best conference since Vancouver 1988  that first introduced the concept of Sustainable Tourism and launched the “Peace through Tourism Movement” with 800 delegates from 68 countries whose feedback stated, “it was the best conference they had ever attended.”

We look forward to our continued collaboration and our commitment to making travel and tourism “the world’s first global peace industry” and the belief that every traveler is potentially an ambassador for peace.”                       

Peace through Tourism is the brand developed after Louis D’Amore concluded the world’s first comprehensive study on the future of tourism in 1976.  Louis D’Amore is known as the man of peace.

Last year the International Institute for Peace Through Tourism (IIPT) under the leadership of its founder and president Lous D’Amore announced: “IIPT is proud to be returning to Montreal, where IIPT was born in 1986 during the UN International Year of Peace, with a vision of travel and tourism becoming the world’s first “Global Peace Industry” and the belief that every traveler is potentially an “Ambassador for Peace.”

D’Amore was proud to partner with the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) under the leadership of then Secretary-General Taleb Rifai when he announced the Montreal summit to take place in September 2017 after the conclusion of the UNWTO General Assembly in Chengdu, China. UNWTO Secretary General Dr. Taleb Rifai was set to be the keynote speaker.

It was a disappointment for IIPT when the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) 22nd General Assembly scheduled to be held in Chengdu, China, had been rescheduled by its Chinese hosts.China decided to move the dates of the General Assembly forward in September so that it now ends on September 16, just prior to the planned NWTO-IIPT Global Summit in Montreal on September 17-21.

This was making it very difficult for most the featured speakers scheduled for September 18 and 19 – the days of the “Official Conference of the UN International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development” – to arrive in Montreal in time for their scheduled participation.

Following consultation with Dr. Taleb Rifai, UNWTO Secretary-General it was decided to re-schedule the UNWTO-IIPT Global Summit. It was re-scheduled for  August 27-30 2018.

Louis D’Amore was successful in building a “Coalition of Partners for World Peace through” Tourism with more than 30 prestigious international organizations – all committed to a ‘Millennium Project” that contributes to the vision of tourism as a global peace industry. As well, IIPT has several active chapters and international networks including an Educators, Community Tourism, Cultural Tourism, Spirituality in Tourism and an International Student/Youth Leadership Network.

D’Amore has been instrumental in promoting the travel and tourism industry as the world’s first “Global Peace Industry” since the founding of IIPT in 1986.

Mr. D’Amore has been a pioneer in promoting a social and environmental ethic within the travel and tourism industry since the mid-70’s. In 1992, following the U.N. Conference on Environment and Development (Rio Summit), he developed the world’s first Code of Ethics and Guidelines for Sustainable Tourism for the Canadian tourism industry.

The UNWTO – IIPT Global Summit was commemorated IIPT’s 30th anniversary year since its First Global Conference. The Global Summit planned to maintain its original theme while also giving a new emphasis as 2018 is the China – Canada Year of Tourism, and China – Europe Year of Tourism

IIPT Founder and President, Louis D’Amore used the occasion of the UNWTO  Conference in Jamaica in November to announce the new dates for the Global Summit named:  Sustainable Tourism for  Development and Peace. The summit was to be co-organized by the UN World Tourism Organization and the International Institute for Peace through Tourism (IIPT). 

No one at UNWTO was available for comments.

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Source:  Juergen Steinmetz, May 18, 2018