Today we are all Malaysians: Statement by Chairman of ICTP

Jul 18, 2014

"The World travel and tourism industry must come together and take leadership after the Malaysia Airlines (MH17) incident." This is the opinion voiced by Juergen Thomas Steinmetz, Chairman of the International Coalition of Tourism Partners (ICTP).

He said today: "On behalf of the International Coalition of Tourism Partners (ICTP), our prayers are with the families of the victims of the terrible Malaysia Airlines shot down in the Ukraine. Our hope and commitment is to make this world a better place through responsible travel and tourism, an industry that cares about its earthly home and inhabitants. The world travel and tourism industry is strong, and must take leadership. Let us all be Malaysians today.”

He continued: "This crash is not the fault of the 298 victims on board this aircraft, not the fault of the management of Malaysia Airlines, and certainly not the fault of the Malaysian government. Malaysia Airlines remains one of the best airlines in the world with many devoted employees making a positive impact on the international airline industry.

"This could have happened to any airline flying over the region at the same time."

Steinmetz made this poignant statement about this horrific event:

"The Malaysia tourism slogan for many years has been ‘Malaysia is Asia.’ Today, I would go further and say, ‘Malaysia is the world.’ Today, we are all Malaysians and grieve for the lives that were lost and for the families that lost them."

Of course it’s a very bitter day for international travel and tourism and the international airline industry.

Lufthansa, Turkish Airlines, Aeroflot, Iran Air, Singapore Airlines, Thai International, Qantas, and many more international airlines could have had their state-of-the-art Boeing or Airbus shut down. Why it happened to Malaysia Airlines, and why it happened at all will be shown in time.

Today, the world grieves with the Malaysian people, and the families and friends of the victims on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH 17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.

So many families and travelers on board this modern jet were enjoying one of the best onboard service available in modern aviation. Many were looking forward to a holiday on clean white sandy beaches in Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, or Malaysia.

The flight crew was relaxed at 33,000 feet on this long stretch of a flight.

A large group of a 100+ were international experts on AIDS on a way to a conference in Australia, others were looking forward to going back home to Malaysia. A travel guide book on Bali found on the burning grounds in Ukraine tells just one of the stories.

The world today is filled with so many violent conflicts these days, and now in this time of Ramadan – a time that is set aside for peace for Muslims around the world.

Tourism is an industry of peace and understanding. It brings people together.

Let the 298 passengers and crew that were onboard MH17 not have died in vain. This is a time for the travel and tourism industry to come together and take the lead on an international platform.

The travel and tourism industry is strong and global. According to the UNWTO more than 1 billion people cross international borders every year.

Local conflicts are small compared to the amazing sites and the beautiful people you can find in any country or region of this big world.

Tourism and travel brings us together. And airlines are the catalyst that propels us to these memorable journeys. It doesn’t make any difference what your passport says.

Daylight is about to break in the Eastern Ukraine, and this will be the moment when the extent of this disaster will become more visible to the international media and investigators.

The International Coalition of Tourism Partners (ICTP) is a grassroots travel and tourism coalition of global destinations committed to quality service and green growth. ICTP engages communities and their stakeholders to share quality and green opportunities including tools and resources, access to funding, education, and marketing support.

ICTP advocates sustainable aviation growth, streamlined travel formalities, fair coherent taxation, and investments for jobs. ICTP supports the UN Millennium Development Goals, the UN World Tourism Organization’s Global Code of Ethics for Tourism, and a range of programs that underpin them.

For more information on ICTP, go to


Posted: 07/18/14

International Coalition of Tourism Partners (ICTP): Green Growth Seminar

International Coalition Tourism Partners (ITCP) is organizing its first Seminar on Green Growth end of August 2014. For further information and registration see the links

Posted: 07/18/14

Rena Michaelidou: Lifelong Honorary President Cyprus Tourist Guides Association: Sad News

We regret to announce the death of our dear colleague Rena Michaelidou, who passed away last week.   The funeral was attended by many Cypriot guides who were there to say the last goodbye to our beloved friend and colleague, and give their condolences to her grieving husband, her three sons and family. Titina read a most touching eulogy on behalf of the CTGA. Rena graduated the Cyprus/CTO School for TGs in 1974. 

All who attended the Cyprus Convention in 1989 will remember Rena Michaelidou, a lovely colleague and ardent promoter of the tourist guide profession in Cyprus; she was one of the organizers. As former  President of the Cyprus Tourist Guides Association between 1978 to 1984, she also started with courses for qualification of trainers; clearly, she was one of the first to join the CTO course lead by Katrine Prince OBE, in 1994. During the following years Rena Michaelidou also served as WFTGA Area Representative.

Rena was continuously involved in the organizing of official relations with authorities and quality management for the guest; she kept her positive approach to life even after she was hit with illness and confined to a wheelchair: she brought and distributed happiness wherever she went, to all who surrounded and lived with her. Her idealism and constructive work for the country’s tourism was rewarded last year by her colleagues with the title of “Lifelong Honorary President of CTGA”.

WFTGA is feeling with the mourning family, the countless friends in her country but also around the world: WFTGA will keep Rena in best memory.


Felicitas Wressnig

WFTGA President 


Posted: 06/08/14

Call For Improved Tourist Guide Training As New WFTGA International Training Centre Opens in Sabah

WFTGA President Felicitas Wressnig opened the WFTGA International Training Centre at Universiti Malaysia Sabah.  In her opening speech Ms Wressnig called for better tourist guide training in the region.

The first Hands On Tourist Guide and Train the Trainer Courses were attended by participants from Hong Kong, India, Poland, Philippines, Malaysia and Thailand. 


Posted: 04/17/14

Commonwealth Games Glasgow 14 Tours

Scottish Tourist Guides have developed new tours for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow

Posted: 03/24/14

International Handbook on Tourism and Peace: WFTGA Case Study by Past President Rosalind Newlands


WFTGA Case Study in South Caucuses Article by Rosalind Newlands. The book launch was attended by WFTGA President Felicitas Wressnig

Order copies of Handbook from

International Handbook on Tourism and Peace launched by UNWTO and the Government of Austria

Providing a unique overview of tourism as a tool in peace building and reconciliation efforts, the International Handbook on Tourism and Peace was launched with the support of the Ministry of Economy, Family and Youth and the Ministry of European and International Affairs of Austria (Vienna, Austria, 29 January 2014).

The Handbook offers a comprehensive collection of perspectives on tourism and peace from leading international specialists with topics ranging from sustainable development and conflict resolution to eco-tourism and heritage preservation and includes several case studies.

On the occasion of the launch, UNWTO Secretary Taleb Rifai stated that “the fundamental experience of tourism – visiting a new place and meeting its people and culture - is a transformative aspect that defines tourism’s role as an agent of peace. In this age of travel, I trust that this Handbook will help enhance our understanding of the subject and open up further possibilities to foster tourism as a valuable instrument for peace.”

Ms. Elisabeth Udolf-Strobl, Director General of the Austrian Ministry of Economy, which supported the project from the beginning, said: "I am very pleased that an Austrian University is carrying out this project in cooperation with the World Tourism Organization. This proves the internationally recognized competence of Austria in tourism and in the field of peace research."

Ambassador Eichtinger from the Austrian Ministry of European and International Affairs praised tourism for its role in intercultural dialogue and exchanges. Quoting the author Mark Twain, he said: “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness….”

The editors of the book, Cordula Wohlmuther and Werner Wintersteiner argue that there are different approaches to the complex topic of “tourism and peace” and that the handbook provides a good overview on this .Based on this diversity they conclude that aspects of “peace sensitive” tourism can be carved out and used by various tourism stakeholders and tourists, as well as international and development organizations.

The number of experts contributing both case studies and theoretical approaches makes the Handbook a unique and powerful contribution to the overall discussion about new pathways to peace. Published by the Centre for Peace Research and Peace Education of the Klagenfurt University (Austria), in cooperation with UNWTO, within the framework of their joint ‘Tourism and Peace’ project, this publication aims to make a substantial academic contribution, while providing also relevant insights for the broader public in presenting tourism as a powerful tool within the international peace building agenda.


Note to editors:

In order to better understand and promote the use of tourism as an instrument for peace, UNWTO launched the project ‘Tourism and Peace’ in collaboration with the Austrian Government and the University of Klagenfurt, in 2012. The project aims to build a better knowledge on tourism’s contribution to peace and elaborate recommendations to maximize the use of tourism in peace building, particularly in conflict prevention and reconciliation efforts.

Tourism as a force for peace is reflected in the UNWTO Global Code of Ethics, a set of guidelines for the development of sustainable and responsible tourism, approved by the UNWTO General Assembly in 1999 and endorsed by the UN General Assembly in 2001.

Useful links:

Tourism and Peace Project

UNWTO Global Code of Ethics


UNWTO Senior Media Officer: Marcelo Risi

Tel: (+34) 91 567 81 60

UNWTO Communications & Publications Programme

Tel: (+34) 91 567 8100 / Fax: +34 91 567 8218


Posted: 02/10/14

WFTGA International Convention: Prague: Czech Republic - January 2015

16th WFTGA Convention will be held in Prague Czech Republic in January 2015. Please find attached:- more information:



Posted: 01/03/14
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