IH&RA Industry Watch
As a President, I concentrated on keeping IH&RA as the representative of the hospitality industry within the International Organizations worldwide, maintaining contacts with our members in the five continents through meetings them and during their annual conferences. We attended around fifty conventions, meetings, hospitality fairs and exhibitions.
I became involved in all aspects of the Hospitality since 2 years on the International scene dealing with various aspects concerning our industry and I will try to resume some of them.
ISO- PROPOSED INTERNATIONAL STANDARIZATION FOR HOTELS WORLDWIDE
- We did battled International Organization for Standardization – ISO for 3 years to have accommodation and catering removed from the scope of their activity and achieved formal recognition of Industry Opposition to the inclusion of accommodation & catering Food and Beverage from ISO leadership in 2007 and a full commitment to work ONLY in local or Regional issues. Now monitoring how this commitment will be implemented in practice during 2008. IH&RA continues to resist and fight moves at the international level to link standardization and international hotel's classification.
- IH&RA did several works with various countries and National Hotels Associations to organize locally the Classification of the country concerned.
- IH&RA believes in YES for local Hotels Classification and NO for International Standardization as every country and every continent has its own specific richness and culture.
- We did revise and update the edition that was disseminated by IH&RA together with UNEP to members of the Hospitality Industry (February 2008) and we cooperated with UN Environment Program [UNEP] a two-year EU-funded pilot project on Crisis and Risk Management & Prevention in Tourism Destinations in South Asia (Kanniyakumari, India, Patong and Phi Phi Island in Thailand).
- Developing Hospitality Guidelines for Crisis & Risk Management on the basis of cooperative consultation and information sharing between major Hotel Chains (will be available late this year).
- UNEP launched a new web based campaign entitled "GREEN PASSPORT-Holidays for living planet" aiming to raise tourist awareness of their potential to contribute to sustainable development by making responsible holidays choice and IH&RA did help this campaign on our website, and supported actively the networking, the distribution and the development of new materials and events.
- I represented IH&RA as part of The Global Partnership for Sustainable Tourism Criteria (STC Partnership) which is a coalition of 27 organizations working together to foster increased understanding of sustainable tourism practices and the adoption of universal sustainable tourism principles.
The Partnership, which was initiated by Rainforest Alliance, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the United Nations Foundation, and the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), launched the Sustainable Tourism Criteria at the World Conservation Congress in October 2008. These criteria will be the minimum standard that any tourism business should aspire to reach in order to protect and sustain the world's natural and cultural resources while ensuring tourism meets its potential as a tool for poverty alleviation.
- Ted Turner is one of the sponsors of the first-ever Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria at World Conservation Congress.
- IH&RA was invited by UNWTO at Davos Meeting to participate at the "Davos Declaration" about Climate Change and Hospitality Industry and since then I did appear in several occasion and was speaker on this issue at various places.
- UNWTO and UNEP did invite IH&RA to work on a European Union tender to expand the uptake of energy efficiency measures in the accommodation sector in EU member states. Project is under initiation right now after approval from the European Union and IH&RA is a Consultant in this issue. Manuals and Training Packages developed for this project will be shared with Hotels Chains around the world.
- Climate is a key resource for tourism, and the tourism sector is highly sensitive to the effects of climate change and global warming. Tourism is estimated to contribute some 5 percent of global emissions of carbon dioxide, one of the main gases that drives global warming, according to the Second International Conference on Climate Change and Tourism organised by UNWTO. Hotels can make significant contributions to climate change mitigation by reducing their energy use, increasing energy efficiency and incorporating best friendly practices in their day-to-day operations.
- Before coming Vice-President oh IH&RA, I did sign on 2003 the first code of ethics for the protection of Children in Tourism as President of Cham Palaces and Hotels and Royal Regency International Hotels. When I became VP of IH&RA, few years ago I did recognize the importance of ethics and social responsibility for our Hospitality Industry. My two hotels chains did adopt the UNWTO Code of the protection of children in tourism.
As President now, I do encourage all of you, Hotels chains executives, independent Hotels, President of Hotels Associations to adopt and sign the "Global code of ethics for tourism" to protect our children and all children worldwide from exploitation and all kind of exploitation in our industry. ILO estimates 218 million of children are engaged in child labor with million of them vulnerable to abuse and exploitation in a daily basis, we know that there is a link between the tourism industry and child exploitation, especially in countries where economic growth has created an enormous demand for child labor. Equally alarming is the spiraling growth of all kind of exploitation of minors, mostly in developing countries, which is often associated to travel and tourism.
- I also was invited in my Quality of President to join the BAB (Business Advisory Board) of IOM that works on contractual Labor Mobility in Asia for Hotels and restaurants. Adopting a forward-looking declaration for a better management of temporary contractual labor mobility.
- IH&RA did prepare a survey for skills shortages and skills availability around the Globe in order to improve collection and dissemination of information on recruitment and qualifications.
- IH&RA was a member of the Jury that chooses the most promising Projects in the Hospitality Industry from more than 100 projects. MIPIM is one of the largest Hospitality and Real Estate exhibitions with 35,000 participants worldwide. IH&RA was invited again to be a member of the jury for the new project and is a guest of honor at the MIPIM Hospitality and Real Estate exhibitions in 2009.
- Since I became President, I did believe that I need to strength the relations between the Private Sector and Public sector as we are complementary and I started to consolidate the relations between UNWTO and IH&RA. Our relations are very strong together as we do complement each other.
- In addition that IH&RA is a member of the Board of the Task force for the Protection of the Children in Tourism, as well as member of the Board of Affiliated members since 2006, I was chosen by the Secretary General of UNWTO to be a member of the Strategic Group.
- IH&RA President together with the UNWTO and other partners will participate to the launching of a new project concerning the "Energy Efficiency for the Tourism Industry" to be held during the WTM in London on November 12th, 2008.
With our move to Geneva this year, we launched more activities as the only representative of the private sector worldwide and we are working very hard to bring more national and international members and worldwide partners in order to strengthen the IH&RA. We are moving toward the second generation and together we can make difference.
International Hotel & Restaurant Association (IH&RA)
Founded in 1859 in Koblenz (Germany), the IH&RA is the only business organisation representing the hospitality industry worldwide. Its members are national hotel and restaurant associations throughout the world, and international and national hotel and restaurant chains representing some 50 brands. Officially recognised by the United Nations, IH&RA monitors and lobbies all international agencies on behalf of this industry, estimated to comprise 300,000 hotels and 8 million restaurants, employ 60 million people and contribute 950 billion USD annually to the global economy.