- Today, November 1st, was the opening of the World Travel Market in London at the Excel Exhibition Center.
- It was also the first time that members of the Global Tourism Network had met in person after hundreds of zoom meetings during COVID-19.
- It was also the day some of the tourism heroes awarded by the World Tourism Network gathered in London at the WTN to receive their award certificates.
“There are hundreds of thousands of tourism heroes,” Global Tourism Network President Juergen Steinmetz said today, “honoring all of those heroes who got our travel and tourism industry through COVID “19. We call them anonymous heroes. They are everywhere. Some of them, we see them, we know them and we can recognize them. That’s what we do today.”
The World Tourism Network (WTN) was created in December 2020, after 9 months of reconstruction.travel the discussions were hosted by Juergen Steinmetz, editor of eTurboNews.
The travel reconstruction discussion began on the sidelines of a canceled ITB Berlin in March 2020 with PATA, the Nepal Tourism Board, eTurboNews and the African Tourism Board.
Today, WTN has members of the public and private tourism sectors in 128 countries.
A year ago, WTN created the International Hall of Tourism Heroes. It was about recognizing those who have gone one step further to lead this industry through the COVID-19 crisis.
The first four Heroes awarded were the Hon. Najib Balala, Kenya Tourism Secretary; Hon. Edmund Bartlett, Minister of Tourism Jamaica; Dr Taleb Rifai, former Secretary-General of UNWTO; and Tom Jenkins, CEO of ETOA.
Today the heroes met for the first time and were greeted by Magical Kenya at the World Travel Market in London.
It was a special day for personal friends and new zoom friends to meet in person. Many WTM attendees and members of the WTN introduced themselves, shaking hands for the first time. It was an emotional moment for some.
Certificates were presented to the heroes of tourism present today or represented, including Michel Nahon from France, Aleksandra Gardasevic from Montenegro, Professor Geoffrey Lipman of SunX in Belgium, Agnès Muchuha, Kenya.
Two proud new heroes were recognized today at WTM.
It was the first day as the new CEO of Barbados Tourism for Jens Thraenhart. It was hosted by the Hon. Minister of Tourism of Barbados, the Hon. Lisa Cummins, and the director of Barbados Tourism. It was also the day he was pictured with the Hero’s Award for his incredible achievements, including his tenure as president of the Mekong Tourism Organization which he left last month.
The second new hero awarded today was Dov Kalmann, Israel . He was the first member of the Rebuilding.travel discussion and was instrumental in the organization’s first meeting in Berlin, Germany, March 2020. Dov represents the Tourism Authority of Thailand in Israel.
The host, the Hon. Najib Balala thanked the Global Tourism Network and Juergen Steinmetz for the role that this organization and Juergen have played in the recovery of tourism.
This was echoed by the Hon. Edmund Bartlett from Jamaica, who is also at the origin of the debate on the resilience of tourism in the Caribbean.