Rapid Mobilization of Travel Industry in
Response to Haiti Crisis
IIPT wishes to express its deep sorrow and sympathy to the people of Haiti and their loved ones around the world – and particularly to the thousands of Haitians who have lost members of their families. IIPT, as with other members of the travel and tourism industry, stands in solidarity with the people of Haiti at this time of need.
Airlines, hotel chains, cruise lines and others involved in the travel industry have been quick to respond in an effort to help this struggling Caribbean nation. Airlines have mobilized supply flights and have enabled frequent-flier members to donate their miles to relief organizations. Some hotel chains have created programs for members to donate loyalty points for Haiti relief efforts. And Royal Caribbean International’s Independence of the Seas was set to call at Labadee, Haiti, on Friday, stocked with relief supplies.
The Caribbean Tourism Organization has mobilized its Disaster Relief Fund to channel monetary assistance to Haiti. Details are available at www.onecaribbean.org. The UN World Tourism Organization stands ready to lend its support during this difficult time by collaborating in the assessment of the damages caused, especially in the tourism sector, and contributing to a recovery plan in the conviction that tourism can become a useful instrument for the necessary reconstruction process.
IIPT Partner Airline Ambassadors is currently one of the only NGOs with logistics on the ground and funding for fuel. They have 80,000 pounds of tents, blankets, water filtration, “meals ready to eat,” and other emergency supplies in Denver. They are currently talking with several airlines about getting flights to Haiti. Airline Ambassadors is working with Southcom (Southern Command US Army) on the ground to meet flights and get the supplies to the right place. AAI has pledged to donate one-fourth of the cost for fuel and its airline partners will contribute three-fourths of the cost. You can donate online at www.airlineamb.com.
A critical immediate and on-going need is for clean safe water and sanitation. ‘Just a Drop’ also an IIPT Coalition Partner is currently mobilizing to provide water and water related services to Haiti. Fiona Jeffery, Founder and Chairman of Just a Drop as well as Chairman of World Travel Market said: "We must face up to the enormous challenges in Haiti and as an industry should rally together and lend our support to its people. It is vital that support is ongoing so that the recovery process is sustained. That means rebuilding the water and sanitation infrastructure. Help us to help them by supporting our JUST HELP HAITI Appeal by making a donation here TODAY.”
PeterGreenberg.com presents a guide to helping Haitians, with the best and most effective ways you can contribute immediately. Monetary donations are the best way to contribute. But Peter warns that you’ll need to beware of Haiti earthquake relief scams and advises what you should watch out for to make sure your money ends up in good hands.
Haiti’s official website, www.haititourisme.com, also is directing visitors to a listing of earthquake relief funds.
IIPT Again Proud Partner in
5th African Diaspora Heritage Trail Conference
IIPT was again a proud partner in the 5th International African Diaspora Heritage Trail (ADHT) Conference which convened October 25-30, 2009 in Dar Es Salaam and Zanzibar, United Republic of Tanzania. The conference was heralded by all in attendance as a resounding success.
This year’s ADHT Conference invoked the spirit of the 6th Pan African Conference that was held in Dar es Salaam in the same Kilimanjaro Hotel in 1974. Hosted for the first time by an African country, this year’s ADHT conference theme, “An African Homecoming: Exploring the Origins of the African Diaspora and Transforming Cultural Heritage Assets into Tourism Destinations”, celebrated the linkages of people of African descent from throughout the world with an unforgettable series of programs, case studies, cultural exhibitions, special events and tours showcasing the vast heritage tourism products that Tanzania, as well as other countries of the African Diaspora have to offer.
The Opening Plenary of the Conference featured Hon. President H.E. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete of the United Republic of Tanzania, who emphasized the need “to tell the story about Africa by documenting, publicizing and promoting cultural heritage and tourist attractions available on the continent”. He called on the African Diaspora to serve as ambassadors and help boost economic development in the continent through the promotion of cultural heritage and historical sites.
Hon. H.E. Jakaya M.Kikwete
Premier of Bermuda, Dr. the Hon. Ewart F. Brown, J.P., M.P. was pleasedtonote “the5thAfrican Diaspora Heritage Trail movement for the first time went back to its roots. I am also please to announce that we now have our charitable status in place and our foundation has a motivated director on board to pilot the ship. We are properly prepared to move forward the objective of educating the world on the cultural heritage of the African Diaspora.”
Hon. Dr. Ewart F. Brown
The six-day conference attracted a diverse gathering of more than 300 persons representing 26 countries from Africa, the Caribbean, North America, Europe and the Middle East (for the first time) including present and past Heads of State, Ministers of Tourism, Ministers of Culture, anthropologists, travel professionals, educators, historians, architects, museum and other cultural heritage project directors, as well as many individuals with personal and professional interests in the African diaspora.
From left to right on the front row: Minister Paulino Domingos from Angola, Minister from Sudan, Julius Neyere's wife (former President of Tanzania), Minister Mwangunga of Tanzania, President Kikwete of Tanzania, Gaynelle Henderson-Bailey, Henderson Associates, Minister of culture Neleatha Butterfield of Bermuda and Dr. Ladislau Komba, Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Tourism, Tanzania
ADHT’s partnering organizations, UNESCO, the World Conference of Mayors, Africa Travel Association, Caribbean Tourism Organization, International Institute for Peace through Tourism, and Travel Professionals of Color were joined this year by the African Union in promoting and supporting the conference through their robust attendance and participation in the conference program itself.
The diversity of participants reconfirmed the presence of a new generation informed by a living Pan-African ideology grounded in the strength, durability and intrinsic value of African Diaspora culture and history.
For more information on The African Diaspora Heritage Trail Conference visit the ADHT website, www.adht.net, or contact Executive Director, Dr. Gaynelle Henderson-Bailey, (301) 650-5700 ext 504 or firstname.lastname@example.org, Henderson Associates / Henderson Travel Service, Silver Spring, MD.
Friends of Peace:
A World Peace Tour to The Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan - Fall/Winter 2010
Bhutan, a Himalayan jewel, is tucked among some of the world’s highest mountains. With a diverse, protected and astonishingly beautiful environment, its inner presence is built upon a remarkable model of kindness, compassion and peace.
Please join IIPT, Sacred Himalaya Travel, and Voluntary Artists Studio Thimphu (VAST) for the 2nd IIPT World Peace Tour in Bhutan. Friends of Peace 2010 Tour holds at its heart, a special opportunity to join with Bhutanese students of VAST to share food, laughter and stories, as we work together to create a project on behalf of peace. This tour offers a unique chance to experience the friendship and good humor of Bhutan’s warm-hearted people and offer a lasting gift to the Bhutanese community.
On our 10 day tour we’ll also explore the mystery , beauty and culture of Bhutan, as we tour her high passes, ancient fortress/Dzongs and touch daily life. It is our hope that you’ll carry this gentle kingdom in your heart and that it may bring peace to you and others on your return home.
Please see upcoming February IIPT Newsletter for Friends of Peace Tour Details.
About Sacred Himalaya Travel
Sacred Himalaya Travel, locally owned and operated in Bhutan, SHT is one of Bhutan’s registered Travel Operators and is a member of IIPT. We are a small team, dedicated to our work, with a deep appreciation and knowledge of our country, its cultural and spiritual heritage, traditions and natural beauty. We open our doors and hearts to receive our guests as family and friends
About Voluntary Artists Studio Thimphu (VAST )
VAST was set up in 1998 by a group of professional artists as a non profitable and non governmental organization. VAST organizes special Art Workshops, Camps, Talks, Exhibitions, Weekend Classes and Design and implement projects to promote culture, health, environment and extracurricular activities throughout the year to provide opportunities to school children to participate and develop their life skills, confidence, talents through interaction and participation of learning art in experiential ways.
Asha Kama, VAST Director
Tshetem Norbu, Wendy Erd, Sacred Himalaya Travel
Reproduced from New York Times / January 7, 2010, Op-Ed Columnist
The Happiest People
By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF
SAN JOSÉ, Costa Rica
Hmmm. You think it’s a coincidence? Costa Rica is one of the very few countries to have abolished its army, and it’s also arguably the happiest nation on earth. There are several ways of measuring happiness in countries, all inexact, but this pearl of Central America does stunningly well by whatever system is used. For example, the World Database of Happiness, compiled by a Dutch sociologist on the basis of answers to surveys by Gallup and others, lists Costa Rica in the top spot out of 148 nations.
Top Nation for Happiness
That’s because Costa Ricans, asked to rate their own happiness on a 10-point scale, average 8.5. Denmark is next at 8.3, the United States ranks 20th at 7.4 and Togo and Tanzania bring up the caboose at 2.6.
Scholars also calculate happiness by determining “happy life years.” This figure results from merging average self-reported happiness, as above, with life expectancy. Using this system, Costa Rica again easily tops the list. The United States is 19th, and Zimbabwe comes in last. A third approach is the “happy planet index,” devised by the New Economics Foundation, a liberal think tank. This combines happiness and longevity but adjusts for environmental impact — such as the carbon that countries spew.
Here again, Costa Rica wins the day, for achieving contentment and longevity in an environmentally sustainable way. The Dominican Republic ranks second, the United States 114th (because of its huge ecological footprint) and Zimbabwe is last. Maybe Costa Rican contentment has something to do with the chance to explore dazzling beaches on both sides of the country, when one isn’t admiring the sloths in the jungle (sloths truly are slothful, I discovered; they are the tortoises of the trees). Costa Rica has done an unusually good job preserving nature, and it’s surely easier to be happy while basking in sunshine and greenery than while shivering up north and suffering “nature deficit disorder.”
What sets Costa Rica apart is its remarkable decision in 1949 to dissolve its armed forces and invest instead in education. Increased schooling created a more stable society, less prone to the conflicts that have raged elsewhere in Central America. Education also boosted the economy, enabling the country to become a major exporter of computer chips and improving English-language skills so as to attract American eco-tourists.
Education Better than Military
I’m not antimilitary. But the evidence is strong that education is often a far better investment than artillery.
In Costa Rica, rising education levels also fostered impressive gender equality so that it ranks higher than the United States in the World Economic Forum gender gap index. This allows Costa Rica to use its female population more productively than is true in most of the region. Likewise, education nurtured improvements in health care, with life expectancy now about the same as in the United States — a bit longer in some data sets, a bit shorter in others.
Rising education levels also led the country to preserve its lush environment as an economic asset. Costa Rica is an ecological pioneer, introducing a carbon tax in 1997. The Environmental Performance Index, a collaboration of Yale and Columbia Universities, ranks Costa Rica at No. 5 in the world, the best outside Europe. This emphasis on the environment hasn’t sabotaged Costa Rica’s economy but has bolstered it. Indeed, Costa Rica is one of the few countries that is seeing migration from the United States: Yankees are moving here to enjoy a low-cost retirement. My hunch is that in 25 years, we’ll see large numbers of English-speaking retirement communities along the Costa Rican coast.
Latin countries generally do well in happiness surveys. Mexico and Colombia rank higher than the United States in self-reported contentment. Perhaps one reason is a cultural emphasis on family and friends, on social capital over financial capital — but then again, Mexicans sometimes slip into the United States, presumably in pursuit of both happiness and assets. Cross-country comparisons of happiness are controversial and uncertain. But what does seem quite clear is that Costa Rica’s national decision to invest in education rather than arms has paid rich dividends.
Maybe the lesson for the United States is that we should devote fewer resources to shoring up foreign armies and more to bolstering schools both at home and abroad. In the meantime, I encourage you to conduct your own research in Costa Rica, exploring those magnificent beaches or admiring those slothful sloths. It’ll surely make you happy.