IFTTA was conceived in Jerusalem in November of 1983 at a conference on the legal aspects of Travel & Tourism. The event was hosted by Israel's Tourism Ministry, Bar Association, and the Hebrew University. Attending the Conference were seventy advocates and educators from Israel, the USA, Canada, France, United Kingdom, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Netherlands, Thailand, Cyprus, Paraguay, South Africa, Singapore and Switzerland.
The opportunity to meet, listen and share private and public moments energised those present as it provided a unique occasion to share legal issues with knowledgeable colleagues. On the spot the decisions were made to form what we called the "International Forum for Travel and Tourism Advocates" (IFTTA). Alexander Anolik of the USA, Gerald Heifetz of Canada, and Dov Kolani of Israel were the first executive officers.
In 1985 IFTTA established, in San Francisco, a depository containing judicial decisions and articles pertaining to Travel and commenced publication of the IFTTA JOURNAL. IFTTA has now held 23 international conferences in places such as Jerusalem, San Francisco, Palma de Mallorca, Athens, Sydney, Edinburgh, Dublin, Honolulu, Istanbul, Vienna, Rome, Beijing, Sao Paulo, Moscow, Budapest and Veszprem, Buenos Aires, Fort Lauderdale etc. We have also had regional conferences and meetings in Toronto, Cozumel, Bad Soden, Herzegenbosh, Dundee, Rosas, Cairns etc,
IFTTA has an agreement with the UNWTO to cooperate on the above objectives and has joint projects with it to build up a database of Travel and Tourism Law materials from across the world and to provide an online interactive forum for discussion of the subject.
At present, membership comprises lawyers from 45 countries across the globe. Sections have also been formed in Europe, Argentina, Israel, Brazil and soon in North America and for the Asia-Pacific region. We particularly welcome members from developing countries and have concessionary rates for them.
Until now there has been no concentrated effort to enrol members to join and remain involved. This will now change. The tourism industry is gigantic and legal issues crucial to its participants. Most business and social activities are now international in scope. We have become one world with only neighbourhoods that differ.
- Provide a Forum for the exchange of information on the legal aspects of Travel and Tourism Law.
- Provide a resource of Travel and Tourism Law legal materials from around the world.
- Encourage the establishment of common legal standards for the Travel and Tourism Industry.
- Promote the highest ethical standards for the Travel and Tourism Industry and for the lawyers that advise it.
- Work with educational institutes in developing courses and fostering research on the legal aspects of Travel and Tourism.
- Sponsor conferences on the legal aspect of Travel and Tourism and further a spirit of collegiality.