Tourism Summit - Problem Not the Solution
Washington, DC. April 11th, 2006 ---- It was with sad heart that I learned that the unique opportunity to do something meaningful for global tourism at the World Travel and Tourism Summit 2006 had been squandered on yet another meaningless platform of dreams.
The speaker list reads like a right wing dream team of the rich and wealthy pandering to the Bush Administration of like minded conservatives. Nowhere is there any real plumbing of the depths of tourism development or real world intelligence. The Administration wheeled out the usual ultra-right wing speakers for their "B" list events. Rice and Chertoff, the architects of the mess with travel and tourism ensure the "Don't Worry Fear Terrorists" line from this failing Administration will resonate as long as the voters will allow. Unlike the AIPAC audience global tourism doesn't warrant either Bush or Cheney, both who believe that the poor bastards in New Orleans got what they deserved for voting Democrat. Of course if Florida gets whacked in the 2006 Hurricane Season then that is different. Family First, Country Second!
The Baby Boomers were never invited, for this conference is about dreams and connected fund raisers supporting the Republican cause. Why mention the Baby Boomers, because their trends will define global tourism, not a load of rich white CEO's consuming the best that Washington can offer. Not that I am averse to partaking in hospitality, no it's this is neither the time nor the place for such an expensive junket, especially with the "Problems" from this Administration given such a platform to make excuses.
Oil prices.... Forget it!
Root causes of Terrorism..... Shh! Talk about the dreams of Disney!
Over supply .... Stop being pessimistic and think of the jobs for illegal immigrants.
The support from Congress and the States was noticeably lacking. Not that I am a support of of Senator Hilary Clinton, but she does represent a huge chunk of tourism dollars. Same with the crowd from Louisiana, wouldn't they have something to contribute. Looking at the caliber of the right wing speakers it was surprising that Rep. Tom DeLay didn't add his bit to the mix. At least DeLay's Fund Raising Dinner is being carried on C-Span today for the benefit of the viewers around the country.
I asked the secretive Press Office at Travel Industry of America, if the Tourism Summit was being carried on C-Span and got no reply. Maybe I should pander more to the conservative right and then the TIA may respond. The UK Press Office of the World Travel and Tourism Summit were very nice, but couldn't tell me the speakers from the Administration, or if C-Span would be carrying such an important event "For Security Reasons". Now every day our newsroom get's more crap from politicians and invitations to hear them speak, interview them, and then we are bombarded with emails with their transcripts. Hmmm.... what are they hiding? Maybe the real scenario about US and global tourism doesn't look all that shiney these last few years. Maybe it's time for a major change at the top, and a more realistic and effective marketing of tourism in the United States.
Tourism Intelligence is unusual in the fact that we track more physical locations than people. Political Intelligence we track the people and their beliefs and hidden agendas. It's about time we started treating global and domestic tourism, a $1.6 trillion dollar business the same way. The ineffective political leaders get roasted in the media. The same travel and tourism leaders get a free ride. Travel media reporters are notoriously weak when it comes to criticism, their advertising departments don't allow any criticism lest it impacts their shaky bottom line.
But as tourism is expected to take up more and more of the Economic Slack in many economic models then we need a better, and more aggressive media coverage of travel and tourism plans, events and key personnel.
But that still doesn't alter the fact that the Travel and Tourism Summit 2006 will go down as a very pleasant junket for the well heeled CEO's when the world really needed good leadership, direction and reliable metrics to manage the many looming crisis threads that are converging. I could be wrong and there could be extensive media coverage of the importance of US and Global Tourism and Travel on the evening news, and that there are hundreds of Press Conferences planned throughout Washington. But that is a secret in case journalists turn up and ask questions.
I do hope this turns out to be more than just another Junket and whitewash for the Bush policies. The global travel and tourism industries deserve better. I will watch for the BBC to carry it around the world. Maybe they will do a better job than the US media managers at TIA with their efforts domestically.