UNWTO Secretary General inaugurates the IIHM Global Centre for Tourism and Hospitality Research

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In his address to IIHM on World Tourism Day 2021, Mr Zurab Pololikashvili praises India and lauds IIHM for its role in connecting Indian youth to the world through tourism & hospitality education New Delhi, September 27, 2021: On the occasion of the World Tourism Day 2021, the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Secretary-General Mr Zurab Pololikashvili officially inaugurated the International Institute of Hotel Management (IIHM) Global Centre for Tourism and Hospitality Research. Mr Pololikashvili, who was the Chief Guest of the inauguration celebrations, commended the efforts and initiatives of IIHM to connect the youth of India and the world through tourism and hospitality education.

In his address to IIHM, the UNWTO Secretary-General said, “On World Tourism Day, UNWTO is proud to stand with IIHM and I am honoured to officially inaugurate the IIHM Global Centre for Tourism and Hospitality Research on this historic occasion.” He further added, “International Institute of Hotel Management has emerged as a true leader in the Tourism sector. IIHM connects India’s talented youth to the wider sector and the world. Furthermore, the IIHM Global Centre for Tourism and Hospitality Research is a forum that will enhance this unique relationship between Hospitality education and employers.”

In response to the Secretary-General’s address, IIHM’s Chairman and Chief Mentor Dr Suborno Bose said, “IIHM is deeply honoured and humbled by the recognition and affirmation of our role by the UNWTO. This will only strengthen our resolve and that of our partners to champion the cause of Hospitality and Tourism across the world.”

The celebrations on this occasion also included a panel discussion showcasing the importance of involvement of all stakeholders towards ‘Tourism for Inclusive Growth’, which was the theme of World Tourism Day 2021. Apart from Mr. Zurab Pololikashvili, the key speakers for the session included HH Maharaja Gaj Singh Ji (Custodian of The House of Marwar), Padma Shri Chef Sanjeev Kapoor, Dr Suborno Bose (CEO and Chairman, IIHM Hotel School), Prof David Foskett (MBE) (Chairman, International Hospitality Council London), Mr Ron Scott (International Director, APIU, UK), Ms Anita Mendiratta (Advisor, Secretary General of UNWTO), Mr Rakesh Mathur (Honorary President and Founding Member, Responsible Tourism Society of India), Mr Kush Kapoor (Chairman for National Council on Tourism & Hospitality, ASSOCHAM), Mr Mike Berthet (Director, Aquaesea Ltd UK), Mr SK Carlisle Vaz (National President, SKAL International India) and Prof Saikat Maitra (Vice Chancellor, MAKAUT, West Bengal).

In his address, Celebrity Chef Mr Sanjeev Kapoor said, “The pandemic has taught us that whatever corrective measures we have to take, whether through our environment, through ourselves, in tourism or in food, they have to start today.” He added, “In the last couple of years, the world has understood the power of turmeric, which is intrinsically Indian. It is not merely about turmeric lattes that the world has to taste. We need to see in what form, whether it is antiseptic, anti-microbial, anti-fungicidal or anti-ageing, we can deliver the goodness of turmeric to the world in a more responsible manner. In fact, one of our states Meghalaya produces world’s best turmeric and most of it is organically grown, which is beautiful. Going forward, we need to make sure that we bring in inclusiveness and sustainability when it comes to food from India one step at a time.”

In his message to India, Mr. Zurab Pololikashvili said, “It’s my great pleasure to greet you on World Tourism Day. I bring with me the best wishes of all UNWTO members, a community of 159 members. 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. India has always seen tourists as a vital part of social-economic, cultural and environmental advancements. You have also long been a value, a life of UNWTO. In 2019 Incredible India was the host country for World Tourism Day and your government has supported tourism through the biggest crisis in the history of the sector.”

During the panel discussion, Mr Rakesh Mathur (Honorary President and Founding Member, RTSOI) said, “For any tourism asset to be successful, it needs to be financially productive. It should involve the local community and be financially beneficial to them. It should be conducted in a safe and honourable manner so as to protect the vulnerable segments of society like women, children and differently abled. Proper governance has to ensure that both the tourism service providers as well as tourists don’t damage the environment as uncontrolled tourism can put a lot of stress on the destination and its infrastructure. It is very important to lay down and implement a code of conduct for tourism service providers and the tourists.”

Mr Mathur added, “In my opinion, the behavioural change in the mindset of service providers as well as tourists is only possible through education. I strongly feel that we should introduce a responsible citizen subject in every school and college of the country and most certainly institutions like IIHM must take it upon themselves to communicate this to their students.”