THE freedom to travel is viewed by some as a major political freedom, even comparable to the right of freedom of expression.
It widens the horizons of individuals, but how free is it really – these and other issues will be discussed by leading businessmen and politicians from around the world at the Global Travel and Tourism Summit in Dubai from April 20 to 22, 2008.
On such issues tourism leaders will thrash out factors such as the environmental and cultural impact of increased numbers of travellers, which can be positive or negative, depending on how the flows are managed.
“Aspects of travel and tourism can sustain, support and nurture the environments and cultures it comes into contact with - but without the right strategies it can also do harm,” says the WTTC.
It also notes that many people have neither the freedom nor the funds to travel – discussions about how far a role in the economic, social and even political developments can travel and tourism play will ensue.
The WTTC’s summit taking place at The Arena, Madinat Jumeirah, is held under the patronage of his highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai. The aim of the summit is to explore the approaches that can balance the prizes of freedom and opportunity to travel with sustainability in a changing world.
Bringing public and private sector leaders together should throw new light on their respective roles within this issue as well as the role of the individual in achieving the required balance.
The summit is the result of a major public-private partnership comprising the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, Emirates Group, Jumeirah Group and Nakheel.
This year’s theme of Global Citizens will help DTCM in its endeavours to position Dubai as the leading tourism destination and commercial hub in the world.
“Our efforts to attract more tourists for business and leisure purposes include provision of best available luxuries, much beyond the expectations of the visitors, making it a unique experience without feeling that they are away from their home country. The emphasis on luxuries, automation of procedures, focus on online information and the whole concept of e-government is to ensure smooth arrival, stay and departure of the tourists,” said a DTCM spokesperson.
“The conference is merely part of the chain reaction that we had initiated under the guidance of our visionary leaders and is expected to contribute its due share in our efforts to attract more tourists in the coming years.”
The discussion subject on April 21 is “Travel and Tourism, central to society, universal in its impact”. Travel and tourism is - for many people around the world - a basic human right and, with growth projections based on increasing levels of wealth across the world, the phenomenon of travel and tourism is called to play an even more significant role in our lives and our societies.
The next subject for discussion is “Global perspectives – changing priorities”. Increasingly influences from economic, political, environmental and social changes routinely interact at an international level, and determine the context in which everyone has to operate. An international sector such as travel and tourism has to take this seriously in its own planning and policy development.
This will be followed by “Human inspiration – world changing answers”. Industry leaders are increasingly defined by their success in harnessing technological advances and human creativity to innovate new and responsible answers to global challenges. What can the travel and tourism industry learn from the leaders of global industry?
Another topic: “The questions are tough and they’re getting tougher” tackles long term planning, investment, cooperation and partnerships for continued success. The travel and tourism sector can contribute but governments also have to play a role. Any form of development must take account of sustainability, the environment, and of other costs, and infrastructure must be developed and improved without making it so exclusive that tourism is reduced to being the preserve of the few.
Many more discussions on varying subjects follow.
The Dubai host committee and WTTC will also hold a gala dinner which takes place in the desert camp at Fort Lisaili. The evening will include the presentation event for the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards 2008 in association with Travelport.