Small Island developing states like Mauritius can leverage their situation to become models of a new low carbon, fairer and caring society with travel and tourism as a major driver, according to the President of International Coalition of Tourism Partners (ICTP).

Professor Geoffrey Lipman was delivering the keynote address on ‘Green Growth and Travelism: Big Chance for Small States’ during the conference on Hospitality/Tourism Management conference hosted by the University of Mauritius.

Incidentally, the term travelism has been coined as a composite term to reflect both Travel and Tourism in one word.

Taking place in front of a high-level academic audience, where Mauritius’ President Kailash Purryag, Tertiary Education Minister Rajesh Jeetah and Tourism Minister Michael Sik Yuen were present, Lipman said “we are at a turning point in the 21st century agenda set out in the Rio Earth Summit nearly 25 years ago.”

“With a myriad of interrelated global, regional, national and local strategies moving towards major Heads of State Summits in the next 18 months, landmark decisions on Sustainable Development Goals and Climate Targets will be made and Developing States have much to gain from them in terms of policy, finance, climate adaptation,” he added.

According to him, the fact that these islands are small and developing with a strong travel potential, gives them an added opportunity that they can easily capitalize upon.

“Mauritius, with its great beauty, renowned creole culture and incredible hospitality is at the leading edge of this change and has good governance to augment its visionary “Ile Durable” Strategy and really does deliver on the promise. To do so however requires a range of policy and implementation measures that put green on the same page as growth and use the Travelism sector as a change champion,” he stated.

Amongst these, he profiled the measurement and management of social and environmental impacts, resilience to climate change, increase in impact investment, and above all, human capacity building.

Lipman also repeated his call for a Travelism Summit to pick up, recalibrate and advance the Davos Declaration process championed by UNWTO.

“The last Summit in this decade long series was more than 5 years ago and so much has changed in terms of policy and action inside and outside the sector. We urgently need to move the process forward if we don’t want to be marginalized,” he said.

“The benefits of green growth will be delivered and enjoyed by the next generations who already have a more receptive mindset. The task for policymakers is to create the enabling frameworks and the directions for change and for educators to adapt the learning systems and to teach,” said Lipman.

He outlined a new kind of creative coalition in which ICTP is advancing this thinking.

“We’ve created the Maurice Strong University Network, linking 10 Institutions around the world, with a goal of 100 by 2020 and a commitment to local and distance learning at low cost and we have a first Summer School in this framework, on Climate Change led by the University of Hasselt this August, ” he added.

He concluded by saying that ICTP only exists to serve destinations and their stakeholders committed to Green Growth and Quality Travel & Tourism ­– typified by the Vanilla Islands –­ and it is committed to helping them turn the promise into reality.

ICTP is a grassroots travel and tourism coalition of global destinations committed to quality service and green growth.

It engages communities and their stakeholders to share quality and green opportunities including tools and resources, access to funding, education, and marketing support.

Image (IISD): Professor Geoffrey Lipman, ICTP President, noted that small island developing states like Mauritius can become models of a new low carbon, fairer and caring society with travel and tourism as a major driver.

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