The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) recently issued a statement denouncing President Donald Trump’s proposed plan to restore travel restrictions with Cuba.
The UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai, said the decision represented "a step backward and a strong attack on the freedom of travel.”
“This decision will have limited impact on Cuba’s tourism development, yet it will substantially affect the U.S. economy and American jobs,” said Rifai in a written statement. “Many U.S. companies have started to invest in and do business with Cuba in view of the immense potential of Cuban tourism, which other countries will surely continue to benefit from.”
And it’s not the first time the UNWTO leader has been vocal about Trump’s travel-related proposals.
During the opening General Session of our recent coverage of the 42nd edition of Tianguis Turisitco in Acapulco, Mexico, Rifai made reference to both Trump's wall and travel ban proposals before offering words of support to the country of Mexico.
"It still a beautiful world," he said back in March. "You hear about diseases, you hear about earthquakes, natural disasters, terrorism, walls being built, people being deprived of their rights to travel…many, many (inequalities) and sufferings, but the fact is we hear about them because we are connected today, we are becoming whole, we become aware."
Rifai went on to explain that travel is the great remedy for an otherwise chaotic political period in global travel.
"Travel and tourism is a calmness during this new world," he told attendees of Tianguis. "We become better when we travel, our eyes open, our hearts open, our minds open, all stereotypes are broken. I traveled the world. I am a better person. When we travel, we become better people because there is nothing more powerful than people coming (together), rubbing shoulders and creating this new world."