A grand celebration on the online platform was organised for World Tourism Day 2021 by the International Institute of Hotel Management (IIHM). On September 27th, 2021, IIHM played host to a number of eminent hospitality professionals and personalities in India and the world. The day was extra special for the institute as the much-awaited IIHM Global Centre for Tourism and Research was inaugurated on this special day.
The UNWTO Secretary-General, Zurab Pololikasvili, addressed IIHM on the occasion, “We celebrate as the world cautiously reopens to travel. Now is the time to recognise our sector’s essential role as a vision of sustainable and equal development. The theme for World Tourism Day 2021 is Tourism for Inclusive Growth. We highlight the value of everyone involved in tourism, both visitors and the visited.”
Reiterating the Secretary-General’s ideas, Anita Mendiratta, Founder and President of Anita Mendiratta & Associates and Advisor to UNWTO Secretary-General said, “The global pandemic has forced us to focus on how to make a stronger tourism community in future. There are four reasons for this. Travel and tourism are important to small and medium enterprises. In the pandemic, many businesses had to shut down because they could not survive. We also have the youth level, who have been forced to look for jobs in other sectors. IIHM and the education community need to re-inspire the youth to get them to realise that this is one of the most remarkable professions. We need to make the youth feel valued, protected, engaged and supported. Then we talk about women. Eighty per cent of travel and tourism businesses are in the SME sector and 50 percent of those come through women’s employment. Finally, we have to focus on environment. Sustainable tourism development must be environmental. We need to protect everything that Nature has given us.”
Padma Shri Sanjeev Kapoor turned the focus of inclusivity towards food. “Tourism is not just transportation of one person to another, it is an experience and meeting of minds and souls. This year’s theme of Tourism for Inclusive Growth, focusses on the need to celebrate food. In the next 20 years, is time for the east and we have to start working on it now. The pandemic has taught us that we cannot wait, we have to take any corrective measures in form of environment or ourselves or in tourism or in food. The power that India can provide to food is unthinkable. We have put a lot of focus on food, specially on healthier food. Therefore, we must bring inclusiveness and sustainability in food in every step.”
The tourism industry will undergo a sea change and Dr Suborno Bose, Chairman and Chief Mentor, IIHM, emphasized on how the IIHM Global Centre for Tourism and Research will help to brace the changes. “Tourism in the post-Covid 19 era will be very different. Guest sentiment will be far different than what it was before March 2020. There will be emphasis on health and hygiene, guests will primarily be concerned about hygiene of the premises and the people associated with the industry. Students and professionals associated with the Tourism and Hospitality industries must be prepared to brace the changes and move ahead and the IIHM Global Centre for Tourism and Research is going to help them in every way possible.”
Prof David Foskett, MBE, Hospitality lecturer and author, added, “Tourism helps humanity to understand other cultures and people throughout the world. We need research, because post-pandemic, world will not be the same in terms of customer service. These are things that need research. Tourism has lots to offer and research will help us to understand how to overcome the problems and obstacles in the future.”