At the Opening Ceremony of the JATA Tourism EXPO taking place in Tokyo, guests witnessed a ribbon-cutting ceremony the likes of which have probably not been seen anywhere else. True to the style and culture of Japan, the ribbon-cutting was a sight to behold with a huge line-up of tourism representatives standing ready to cut a long – a very long – red ribbon.
Those in the ribbon-cutting ceremony were all wearing white gloves, and UNWTO Secretary-General Dr. Taleb Rifai had a bit of a struggle getting his gloves on, sort of reminiscent of OJ Simpson at that infamous trial.
It was a massive line-up of ministers and executives from tourism agencies, organizations, and commissions from the world over – from Sudan to Paraguay, from Indonesia to Thailand, and more. Of course, Japan had several representatives, including from the office of the Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, as well as the Japan Tourism Agency.
Standing shoulder to shoulder with all these tourism leaders were Dr. Taleb Rifai, Secretary-General, UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Mr. David Scowsill, President and CEO, World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), Mr. Hiromi Tagawa, Chairman, JATA, Vice Chairman, WTTC; Mr. Christian Mantei, General Manager, Atout France; Mr. Vijay Poonoosamy, Vice President, International & Public Affairs, Etihad Airways; and Mr. Mario Hardy, CEO, Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), just to name a few.
And with the snip of many scissors, the ribbon was cut with a flourish, and the event was officially opened.