Making the right choice | Tourism’s Future Needs Responsible Voting

Realizing the after effects of historic referendum,  the United Kingdom now feels the fear and sadness of activating Article 50 to divorce from the European Union similarly  Across the Atlantic, the American people are seeing how promise to make America great again is turning into making America greatly cut off from the rest of the world.

The responsibility of the vote, and the implications of the outcome, has never been felt more deeply at a global level than in these globally connected times.

In the tourism world, the same is true, as the UNWTO readies for election of the next Secretary General. Thirty three Executive Council members are tasked with deciding for the world’s tourism industry and community, the future path of growth. As seven candidates from across the world countdown to decision day in May of this year, the intensity of competition is becoming clear. Each brings to the race their own qualifications and arguments for the right and rightness of the top job. And each brings their own style of campaigning, styles that reveal the nature of the competitor, and their suitability for the position of tourism’s highest diplomat.

While some have chosen direct combat, pulling others down to be able to rise above, turning the spotlight onto themselves, one candidate has opted for a more inclusive, outward focused approach.

The Republic of Korea’s nominee, Ambassador Dho Young-Shim, a highly respected, delivery-focused, lifelong practitioner of tourism with enviable experience and relationships within and outside the global UN system, has chosen to focus on leadership, not leaders.

Dho’s focus is firm. She is steering clear of being distracted by antics and attacks among candidates. That is not her style. Her interest is the future wellbeing of global tourism for all, not the quest for the job for one. “This time of selection of a new Secretary General of the UNWTO is a critical one for the Tourism sector, and global community, worldwide. The recommendation of the Executive Council will define the path forward for the sector’s impact for people across the globe. The campaigning process of potential candidates is, therefore, one that demands clear vision of intent, inspiration for alignment of the organisation, as well as honesty and integrity of approach. It is not my interest in securing the position of next Secretary General of the UNWTO by bringing other candidates down. Rather it is through inspiring us all to rise up.”

Letting actions speak louder than words, putting principles before press releases, Dho is positioning her candidacy as a partnership, having as her running mate Carlos Vogeler, a Spanish national, former Chairman of the UNWTO Affiliate Members, and now Executive Director of the Organisation for Member Relations, as well as Regional Director of the Americas.

This unique pairing of global, outside-in and inside-out experience and expertise gives UNWTO Executive Council members tasked with determining Rifai’s successor, a leadership combination that guarantees Rifai’s legacy acts as the foundations for a new era of UNWTO impact. Vision, strength, stability and shared commitment to an even more innovative, empowering tourism future for all – members, staff, and the wider global tourism community. It’s about leadership, not leaders.

In her own words:

“Together, I am confident, we both are, that we create a powerful combination of leadership. As the first woman Secretary General of the UNWTO, closely supported by my Deputy from Spain, we will offer unprecedented balance of global representation, experience and expertise across business and government, access and gender. Our partnership reflects our vision is one of a strong, delivery-focused UNWTO, championing global Tourism as a key enabler to fulfillment of the greater global growth agenda, for the benefit of all.”

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