30 Years of IFTTA – that means 30 years of a very unique group of lawyers. This experience was once again obvious at our recent 24th World Conference in Prague. The new participants were amazed by the high level of professional exchange on the one hand and the warmth and friendliness within IFTTA members on the other. 42 participants who represented no less than 22 nations from Australia to USA and Canada and from Argentina and Brasil to Russia and Japan underlined the broad international character of IFTTA and the beautiful historical city of Prague added its unique flair to the success of the conference.
What is the miracle of IFTTA? It’s the spirit that characterizes IFTTA from the very first moment of its foundation back in 1983. The particular way of dealing with each other in a mixture of professional respect and true cordiality was introduced by the founders and the first generation of IFTTA members, many of which are still active in IFTTA. IFTTA can and always will be proud of these personalities.
Actually, the Prague conference united members of this very first generation with enthusiastic youngsters ready and eager to renew and continue what IFTTA is about.
Anyway, apart from reminiscence, the 24th IFTTA Conference brought very encouraging specific results for the further development of IFTTA:
The representative of UNWTO was impressed by the way that IFTTA was analyzing the UNWTO draft for an international convention on the protection of tourists and tourism service providers in several working groups which commented on this draft. He therefore will recommend to the Secretary General to officially invite IFTTA to take part in the next UNWTO working group on the convention. A big achievement for IFTTA. Moreover; the personal experience of an IFTTA meeting will most probably lead into a revised cooperation agreement between our two organisations early next year covering various fields of cooperation from a travel and tourism law data base to an involvement of IFTTA in UNWTO’s International Tourism Forum for Parliamentarians.
IFTTA will also continue to contribute comments and suggestions regarding regional legislation in travel and tourism like the recent EU proposals on air passenger rights and package travel which were also discussed at the conference.
Another big achievement was the formation of a new committee called “IFTTA Young Professionals”. This committee will serve as a particular group for young IFTTA members up to the age of 35. These young lawyers have contributed a lot to the conference and some of them have even presented papers which all were of high quality. Their commitment and friendship is the fertile soil on which IFTTA’s future can grow and bloom.
Special thanks, of course, go to the members of the board including our emeritus presidents and board members who by their efforts have made all this possible. I am confident that the new board members who have been elected at the AGM will add new ideas and perspectives and help IFTTA to remain as vibrant and lively as we could experience it in Prague.
So we all look forward to our next IFTTA world conference in Dublin in 2014 which will be another jubilee: the 25th IFTTA World Conference.
Wishing all RRa readers and IFTTA members a joyful and relaxed holiday season as well as a successful new year I remain
With kind regards