BANGKOK, Thailand – The 21st World Economic Forum in East Asia closed on June 1, 2012. The theme of the forum was, “Shaping the Region’s Future through Connectivity,” and was held in Bangkok, Thailand, over a 3-day period beginning on May 30, 2012.
Attending the forum was Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar, the opposition leader and General Secretary of the National League for Democracy (NLD) in Myanmar, also known as Burma. Ms. Suu Kyi has been under house arrest in Burma for almost 15 of the 21 years from July 20, 1989 until her most recent release on November 13, 2010, becoming one of the world’s most prominent (and now former) political prisoners.
On April 1, 2012, her opposition party, the National League for Democracy, announced that she was elected to the Pyithu Hluttaw, the lower house of the Burmese parliament, representing the constituency of Kawhmu; her party also won 43 of the 45 vacant seats in the lower house.
Suu Kyi received the Rafto Prize and the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in 1990 and the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991. In 1992 she was awarded the Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding by the government of India and the International Simón Bolívar Prize from the government of Venezuela. In 2007, the government of Canada made her an honorary citizen of that country; at the time, she was one of only four people ever to receive the honor. In 2011, she was awarded the Wallenberg Medal.
Also in attendance at the World Economic Forum East Asia was Professor Geoffrey Lipman, International Council of Tourism Partners (ICTP) President, who had the opportunity to get in a quick question to Ms. Suu Kyi regarding Mynamar’s tourism. In a thoughtful response, Aung San Suu Kyi said that good vocational training courses that give equal opportunity for men and women would be very important for building a delivery base for quality tourism service, as well as a role model for other sectors.
Lipman was attending the forum that just closed in Bangkok and chaired the opening session of the Special Tourism Summit with high-powered speakers that included the Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand; the Chair of Thai Airways; The Minister of Tourism of Indonesia; the Executive Chair of the Jumeira Group; and the Group President for Visa for Asia, Middle East, and Africa. The session was bullish on the prospects for travel and its contribution to socio-economic growth and competiveness in ASEAN, and identified infrastructure, capacity building, and the streamlining of visitor flow as key factors that will keep the positive momentum.
The next World Economic Forum for East Asia will be held in Myanmar in 2013. Myanmar is making the transition to democracy, where the main impetus is to fulfill the people’s wish to live in peace and experience economic development.
The International Council of Tourism Partners (ICTP) is a new grassroots travel and tourism coalition of global destinations committed to quality service and green growth. The ICTP logo represents the strength in collaboration (the block) of many small communities (the lines) committed to sustainable oceans (blue) and land (green).
ICTP engages communities and their stakeholders to share quality and green opportunities including tools and resources, access to funding, education, and marketing support. ICTP advocates sustainable aviation growth, streamlined travel formalities, and fair coherent taxation.
ICTP supports the UN Millennium Development Goals, the UN World Tourism Organization’s Global Code of Ethics for Tourism, and a range of programs that underpin them. The ICTP alliance is represented in Haleiwa, Hawaii, USA; Brussels, Belgium; Bali, Indonesia; and Victoria, Seychelles. ICTP membership is available to qualified destinations free of charge. Academy membership features a prestigious and selected group of destinations.
Members of destinations currently include Anguilla; Aruba; Bangladesh; Canada; China; Croatia; Greece; Grenada; India; Indonesia; Iran; Iran; La Reunion (French Indian Ocean); Malaysia; Malawi; Mexico; Morocco; Nicaragua; Northern Mariana Islands, US Pacific Island Territory; Pakistan; Palestine; Rwanda; Seychelles; Sierra Leone; South Africa; Sri Lanka; Sultante of Oman; Tajikistan; Tanzania; Yemen; Zimbabwe; and from the US: Arizona, California, Georgia, Hawaii, Maine, Missouri, Utah, Virginia, and Washington.
Partner associations include: African Bureau of Conventions; African Chamber of Commerce Dallas/Fort Worth; Africa Travel Association; Alliance for training and research in the field of social and solidarity tourism (ISTO/OITS); Cultural and Environment Conservation Society; DC-Cam (Cambodia); Hawaii Tourism Association; International Institute for Peace Through Tourism (IIPT); International Organization of Electronic Tourism Industry (IOETI); Livingstone International University of Tourism Excellence, Zambia; Positive Impact Events, Manchester, UK; Shanghai Institute of Foreign Trade, China; SKAL International; Society for Accessible Travel & Hospitality (SATH); Sustainable Travel International (STI); The Region Initiative, Pakistan; University of Florida: Eric Friedheim Tourism Institute; University of Hawaii; University of Technology Mauritius; and vzw Reis-en Opleidingscentrum, Gent, Belgium; and University of Technology Mauritius.
For more information, go to: www.tourismpartners.org .