Open letter from the National Tourist Board of Ukraine: Do not be silent!
Ivan Liptuga, head of the National Tourism Organization of Ukraine and the former director of the department of tourism and resorts of Ukraine.
Ivan Liptuga is a member of the Global Tourism Network.
Just a few weeks ago, he posted on his WTN profile for the National Tourism Organization of Ukraine:
I still don’t believe that we should rebuild tourism from scratch and hope that after the lockdown it recovers. Too many people and too much money have been invested in our industry globally and it cannot go away.
But of course we have to think about new approaches, new marketing activities, new security activities and be creative in developing competitive tourism products.
Little he and the rest of the world that he, his family, his organization and his country are fighting for their survival today.
Two weeks ago, the Global Tourism Network hosted a panel discussion by Ivan entitled: Tourism in Ukraine: We love you and are open.
Today, Mr Liptuga asked the Global Tourism Network for all the help he can get.
Representing the Ukrainian travel and tourism industry, Ivan makes this appeal to WTN members:
A call from Ukraine to our friends in the global travel and tourism industry
I am writing this article in English because it is aimed at the global business community.
Here in Ukraine, words are no longer necessary, we are all doing everything we can.
I think for the past 96 hours no one in the world has doubted what the current Russian regime is.
Even those who have consoled themselves with a small hope that the informational confrontation distorts reality and thickens the colors on a vast peace-loving country, which is based only on noble values.
What is called demilitarization is nothing but an open, treacherous, savage, brutal and medieval attack on an independent country in the heart of Europe, an attack on my native Ukraine.
The way the entire Ukrainian people mobilized during these 96 hours speaks of one thing: “denazification” can only end with the complete extermination of our 40 million inhabitants.
Not a single sane person in the next 10 generations would forget or forgive this treacherous crime committed by Russia against the Ukrainian people.
This war is also treacherous towards the Russian people, who have been deceived and held hostage by barbaric intentions. For many decades Russia will become a global pariah and a symbol of inhuman evil.
Until recently, I did not believe that this is possible in our time in our society!
For more than twenty years, I have worked in the development of tourism and international trade.
We have built and developed business relationships with all over the world. The last 72 hours have reset everything for our country, reset the results of my life and the lives of millions of my countrymen.
But the worst thing is that in this moment, in these minutes, tens of thousands of ordinary people, our relatives, friends and colleagues, who never prepared for war, picked up guns and bottles of combustible mixture and took to the streets to come face to face with enemy tanks and armored vehicles.
They die, but they don’t give up.
The whole world can envy such cohesion and such patriotism!
I now appeal to the entire global tourism and international trade community, to all my friends and colleagues in the tourism and logistics industry with whom we have worked together for many years and who continually write to me from worldwide, from Hawaii to Singapore and from South Africa to Norway.
DON’T BE SILENT! DO NOT OBSERVE FROM THE SIDE!
Every Russian company, every citizen of this country must open their eyes, understand and take responsibility for the crime that their government is committing.
Destroying Ukraine before your eyes, they are trampling on all the values of the modern civilized world.
Russia will not stop at Ukraine!
Responses are pouring in from all over the world.
Global Tourism Network:
Dr. Walter Mzembi, President of WTN Africa in South Africa:
Ivan, Africa stands in solidarity with Ukraine as demonstrated by the UN Security Council vote that the three African governments representing the African bloc, Kenya, Gabon and Ghana were for peace and condemned any act of war against your country.
WTN Africa stands in solidarity with this courageous resolution against the war and carnage against innocent lives that are now collateral damage in this geopolitical impasse.
Alain St. Ange, VP of World Tourism Network and in charge of public-private partnerships in Seychelles.
The world is only seeing light at the end of the tunnel after the two years of Covid-19 pandemic lockdown and a world war is not what we need now.
Together the world is ready for a brighter future, but a divided and confrontational approach is about to bring years of disaster on course.
Juergen Steinmetz, President of the World Tourism Network in Hawaii, USA:
The Global Tourism Network had called on the tourism world to speak with a united voice and provide smart advice for world peace.
After all, tourism is a guardian of world peace.
War, peace and resilience in tourism: how does global tourism resilience work?
We asked this question last week? This was not a drill, and I call on those who teach resilience and claim to lead our global tourism sector to come together.
The Global Tourism Network is there to play our part. Our support for Ivan, his organization and the Ukrainian people will be assured.
Ukrainians and Russians are brothers, friends and have many family ties. This war is not about the people, it is initiated by a misguided leader.
We specifically invite our members in these two countries to engage in a discussion in good faith. WTN will create a Russian-language tourism discussion forum. More information on the Global Tourism Network, including membership options: www.wtn.travel