Alain St. Ange, the Minister of Tourism of the Seychelles, spoke at the International Institute for Peace Through Tourism (IIPT) Symposium in Johannesburg. He said:
“Why did Louis D’Amore invite us here? IIPT has brought people from a cross section of countries to rally in the direction of sustainability and peaceful communications. Lou wants us to reflect on how we are doing it, and what else we can do. We are championing the activities and legacies of three men, each of whom helped shape the world. They were underestimated in their own time. We forget that what starts at the bottom makes headway. Underestimated people power. These three leaders defeated in their own way the establishments of their era. They had a long walk to freedom.
“How do we get that legacy to be a marking point in this time? How do we impact out own country and out own people with the vision these 3 men created? In the Seychelles, they are doing what they say they are doing. Seychelles would grind to a halt without tourism. So, the heavy burden of the economy of the country rests on tourism. The spirit of togetherness, working together, like IIPT together with ICTP, for example, will help make a difference.
“We need to share our experiences and work together. Seychelles realizes it because it is so small. It is a life that recognizes people, and puts people in the center of its development. Some of the biggest countries should be members of the UNWTO, but are not. (USA and Canada, for example.) All the bodies must work together and everybody needs to be on board. Some countries do not recognize the importance of tourism or of climate change.
“How do we find grassroots travel and make the world more conscious? ICTP dedicates itself to working on that, using the UNWTO as its umbrella to give it a degree of order.
“Negative news makes news, and we need to find more ways of getting positive stories out there. Stories like what IIPT and Louis D’Amore is doing to help bring peace to the world. The time to look at past wars should be left in the past. Brand Africa will do better looking forward. It will do much better if everyone would be united. Keep one’s own identity, but work together.
“Tourism brings peace. When people have a bit of money, they can relax and have a drink, rather than fight for life. Tourism puts money in the pockets of the people. The world is hearing about beheadings, not about positive changes like Jo’Burg has been cleaned up and is now quite safe.
“We should all leave this conference with a feeling to carry forth the objective to peace in every way we can.”