The first day of the International Tourism Investment Conference (ITIC) was a powerful day, and a proud day for Dr. Taleb Rifai, Chairman ITIC, and Ibrahim Ayoub, Group CEO and Organizer.
Tourism as a key economic driver and the Global financial driver, investment opportunities and challenges was the main discussion point at the London Intercontinental Parklane Hotel.
The Hon. Najib Balala, minister of tourism of Kenya was seen to attend every session together also with the Hon. Edward Bartlett from Jamaica and the Hon. Minister of Tourism Memunatu Pratt from Sierra Leone. Gerald Lawless, former President and CEO of the Jumeirah Group and WTTC ambassador explained why opportunities for Africa and the needs of small Island nations were the focus of the event.
Balala talked about the excellent work done in Kenya to achieve the latest growth in tourism while still, nations warn their citizens of possible security issues in his country. The minster thought there was a double standard. Security incidents in the United States, for example, the mass shooting in Las Vegas recovered fast, while his country is still suffering after western countries still haven’t forgotten challenges from years ago.
Investment opportunities in Saudi Arabia after the Kingdom announced electronic tourist visas were presented by Adel A. Tashkande of Invest Saudi, the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority. (SAGIA)
Developing tourism in Africa with the UN Sustainable Development Goals in mind was discussed on a panel with Martin George, Director of Investment, Enterprise Saint Helena, Fiona Jeffery, Charman Africa Travel and Tourism Association, Cuthbert Ncube, Chairman of the African Tourism Board and Daniela Olero, CEO of SKAL International.
Climate Change and Tourism Resilience Management were discussed by the Hon. Edmund Bartlett, Minister of Tourism from Jamaica, Hon. Elena Kountura, Member European Parliament and former minister of Tourism for Greece, Dr. Taleb Rifai, former UNWTO Secretary-General, Professor Lee Miles, representing the Crisis and Disaster Management, Bournemouth University and Alain Chagnon, President of Zoobox.
Ben Lck, senior director of Edelman talked about the importance of effective branding.
The day closed with a delicious Gala Dinner and an impressive cultural performance and tunes from South Africa and Kenya, including the world-renowned London Masai Cultural Arts group.
Altogether this conference was an all-star event and is expected to become an important yearly highlight on the sideline of the World Travel Market.