UNWTO Special Advisor Anita Mendiratta appointed to the Board of Tourism Cares

UNWTO Special Advisor Anita Mendiratta appointed to the Board of Tourism Cares

London, United Kingdom – 9th August, 2019

Tourism Cares, a leading US-based philanthropic body of the travel and tourism sector with over 15yrs of proven global experience leveraging the power of the industry to activate social impact programmes in tourism-based communities worldwide – has announced that Anita Mendiratta, Founder and President of ANITA MENDIRATTA & Associates, has joined its Board of Directors. 

A trusted strategist in Tourism, Aviation and Development working closely with leaders in governments, businesses, and international organisations, Anita is also Special Advisor to UNWTO Secretary General Zurab Pololikashvili. Her expertise in the areas of national growth, development, and recovery is expected to contribute significantly to Tourism Care’s social impact strategy and activations, including alignment to the UN SDGs. 

In announcing Anita’s appointment, Chairperson of the Board Carolyn Cauceglia (VP Strategic Sales & Account Management at technology solutions firm Amadeus) stated: “We are delighted to share that Anita Mendiratta has joined the Board of Directors of Tourism Cares. Anita’s talent, energy and passion for our industry is contagious. Her deep knowledge of international business, governments, global tourism, sustainability, strategy and leadership coupled with a unique ability to bridge and break through compliments our vision of mobilizing travel and tourism companies’ collective power to ensure lasting impact for destinations in need.“ 

An active advocate of Tourism Cares for several years, Anita believes firmly in its value as a powerful vehicle for industry to work more closely with local communities to embed the principles and practices central to the development of their tourism as a vehicle for responsible, equitable growth and development.

Increasingly, both travellers and the tourism community are looking for ways to make a direct, positive impact on the world we are blessed to discover through our travels. Tourism Cares has invaluable experience in educating, inspiring and mobilising the travel industry in how to connect its people, its sense of purpose and its resources to social impact programmes that are meaningful and measurable. To be a part of the Tourism Cares Board is not only a huge honour, it is a responsibility I take very personally.







11:00am, London time. 24 07 2019.

To look at any global news television screen at this precise moment one will see aerial coverage of Prime Minister Theresa May performing her final responsibilities in office:

  • final PMQ in Parliament
  • final address from 10 Downing Street
  • final visit to Buckingham Palace to see Her Majesty the Queen to submit her resignation
  • final wave to the cameras

all, no doubt, with a heavy heart. She did her best. Her work is done.

In parallel, an excited, freshly suited, soon to be appointed Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, waits with, no doubt, a strongly beating heart, all set to take on the role which millions across the UK and world have known he has longed for for all of his professional political life. His work is about to begin.

A generation ago, such moments of changing of the guard felt to unfold more slowly, more gently, more honourably. Saying goodbye to one leader prompted a toast, not a roast. Yet today, literally and figuratively, it can feel as though the revolving doors of leadership around the world are only too excited to feel the winds of change as the doors spins one out, one in. An idealistic assumption of times past which may in fact have been as aggressive as present? Perhaps. Perhaps not.

Whatever the case, so the analysis begins, or rather, continues…

Four hours on, the process of change complete as the Royal Standard blows in the wind high over Buckingham Palace signifying Her Majesty is in residences, and having received the outgoing and incoming Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom, the shift is felt. Leadership has changed.

A new chapter of the nation’s history is being written, Prime Minister Johnson is poised with pen firmly in hand, ready to start writing the story of the United Kingdom with his choice of instrument and prose. Unsurprisingly and understandably, in his creatively flowing mind, his first word will be “Finally!” His promise to the nation, clearly, confidently, with conviction, was first called out on the eve of his taking office in a self-declared campaign acronym rather overtly reflecting the ‘everyman working for everyman’, the ‘dude’, he enjoys being seen as: Deliver, Unite, Defeat, Energise. Message delivered. Acronym embedded: DUDE.

Clearly (even if ever so subtly), at times like these detail matters. Carefully, thoughtfully, often poetically and even cunningly, meaning goes beyond overtly spoken messages. Nuance can, in fact, speak louder than scripted words.

For Prime Minister May, now former Prime Minister May, she knew too well that her final words as the leader of the nation would be inscribed in the history books, her final speech her parting wish and prayer to the people who entrusted her to lead the nation through one of its most challenging times – challenges not only in politics, policies and personalities, but challenges in unity, harmony, decency and identity. Standing in front of 10 Downing Street, saying her farewell, her address would be the start of endless commentary, and criticism, of how she was able to perform in the land’s highest office. How will history judge her as a Conservative leader? As a Brexit leader? As a female leader? From whichever angle one chooses, it will be about judgment – open, unedited, colourful, sadly probably unthankful, judgment.

Former Prime Minister May’s final words were gentle, were grateful, were sincere, were without tears. Her words were clear. She is thankful to, and hopeful for, the people to whom she has had the honour of her life to serve.

As for the issue of future of the UK and its relationship with the EU, into this she refrained. Or did she?

There, in front of the iconic doorway of 10 Downing Street, she stood in her (presumably thought through) choice of departure suit: a tailored suit in distinctive blue, with a bold, chunky, gold connected-bauble (star?) necklace. Strategists could not help but smile at the choice – respectful salutes to the EU noted.

Was it a coincidence? Perhaps. Perhaps not.

Now, a further four hours on, with the flag above Buckingham Palace changed back to its summertime Union Flag, nods an acknowledgement of the fact that we must, as always, keep calm and carry on. However the guard may have changed, whoever may be the next head of state, we must always ensure that we are all – each and every one of us – guarding what is, in the end, truly valued.

Today and always, ‘leader‘ must always be honoured as a verb, not a noun. For one, and for all. x


Copyright: ANITA MENDIRATTA 2019




One year ago, on what was a milestone day, I received the most incredible gift from someone who is a central part of my heart and who understands my heart – Al Merschen. The shock was immense. I understood what it was, but I couldn’t quite absorb its enormity: its immense purpose, its huge potential impact. I needed to get my head around it. I needed to get my heart around it – I needed to fully honour it.

Over the past year I, we, have been figuring out where in the world to bring this gift to life, and where in the world it can start to touch lives. The process of defining the WHAT, WHY and WHEN has been a long, important one. But now we know!

And so here, now, I am delighted to share that Al’s gift – creation of THE ANITA MENDIRATTA FOUNDATION, is being officially registered as a globally-focused Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) with the UK Charity Commission. For this, I thank Al with all of my heart, and with this, I hope to be able to make all the difference. x


Not one to feel comfortable using the word “I” in writing, on this occasion I will absorb the discomfort and make an exception. Reason being, in this sharing the ‘I’ extends far beyond me.

In brief, on May 16th, 2019. the United Nations’ International Day of Living Together in Peace which is defined and designed to be one for “mobilising those in the international community to promote peace, tolerance, inclusion, understanding and solidarity”, the title of Ambassador For Peace At Large For Global Relations was bestowed upon me by the IIPT, the International Institute For Peace Through Tourism. https://peacetourism.org/anita-mendiratta-iipt/

I was deeply touched by the honour, and the reaction of colleagues, clients, friends and family, near and far. And I was quite silenced thinking ‘what does it actually mean? What does it mean to get this title at this time in my career? What does this mean for my future focus in working to develop peace through tourism.

And ultimately, why do we need an organi​s​ation like the IIPT?’ https://peacetourism.org/

Why indeed.

The IIPT as an organi​s​ation has been around for decades. Its mission is to promote peace through tourism’s ability to connect people, places, and possibilities. It hasn’t changed since 1986, even as the world around it, and peace itself, has taken on new challenges and meaning. Its reason for being has endured, actually strengthened.

Suddenly it was clear: the appointment was not a recognition of my work in the past. It was, in fact, a clear statement of expectation of my work in the future.

And here is why: becau​s​e now more than ever our world needs travel and tourism, to not only promote all that our shared world has to offer – socially, culturally, economically and environmentally – but to protect it.

Today we are bles​s​ed to live in a world without borders. Nowhere is out of bounds either in our imagination or infrastructure. We have the ability to get from A to B, right through to the end of the alphabet, as often, as frequently, and quite honestly, as indulgently as we wish. If we have the means – the time, the funds, the motivation, the inspiration, the facilitation, we have the ability to move anywhere.

As I say repeatedly from whichever stage I am blessed to speak, there is no industry in the world that demonstrates the desire of the people of the world to come together to understand and appreciate one another like travel and tourism. It is travel and tourism that inspires people to invest their time, money and energy to cross the street or cross the world to discover the other – exploring differences in people and places to understand, appreciate, and respect.

That is how tourism has become a vehicle for peace. And right now we need this proactive, empowering, and uniting vehicle for bridge-building, a force for good that works every day to unlock people’s ability to venture out into the world to feed their curiosity, find their compassion, to give, not just take.

For years, the linear premise of tourism being a vehicle for peace would yield questioning, often incredulous looks. The leap was too far. And then the early two thousands happened. Where tourism was one seen as peripheral, as recreational, a non-essential, in the last 15 years it has become an essential part of life for both travellers and locals alike. Business Development requires tourism. Understanding of the global community around us requires tourism. Economic opportunity requires tourism. Social stability and unity requires tourism. Local identity required tourism. The potential of the world to really see the value in which it holds together as well as independently requires tourism.

Importantly, without travel and tourism, we lose the opportunity for economic expansion that raises the baseline for billions, the opportunity for social understanding and inclusivity, the opportunity for environmental protection and preser​v​ation, the vital ways in which we can ensure that, for generations to come, proudly and purposefully protecting and preserving what Mother Nature gave us, and ultimately allowing us to see, feel, that it is our differences that unite us.

It is through our differences that we learn compassion, we learn understanding, we learn respect. This applies to not only how we see and accept responsibility for our engagement with other people. It is also about how we engage with the environment around us, living harmoniously with Mother Nature.

Powerfully, to travel is to also learn about oneself.

It is through tourism that all of these prisms of life are brought to life, creating connection. That connection creates harmony, which in turn, at scale, creates peace.

This truism has always been central to the IIPT, champions of the message that we as travellers around the world have a responsibility to vocali​s​e the invaluable impact of tourism beyond the tourists. It is our responsibility to vocali​s​e just how blessed we are to be able to reach out into the world, and in doing so, to actively work to knock down walls where differences are being used as a way of separating people, politics, policies, philosophies, and ultimately hearts.

The need for all of us to stand up and work for peace has become ever more personal. Now, right here and right now, travellers of the world need to embrace it is not someone else’s responsibility, it is all of ours. It is mine.

As we look at the UN SDGs and the 17 ways in which the goals develop a framework not just at government and corporate level, but at a citizen level, to examine how we can play our part to shape a truly sustainable world, there is an overt need to, through tourism, directly strengthen the fabric of our shared global community and home, for all people and places, all creatures great and small, all of Mother Nature’s creation. http://tourism4sdgs.org/

I will forever be grateful to the IIPT for this moment, this mandate. I am committed to serving the sector, now in a way that brings greater credibility, exposure, and inclusiveness of the IIPT into the global community as a part of the DNA of our sector truly being a force for good.

Now is the time, the perfect time, to get to work. x


Copyright: ANITA MENDIRATTA 2019



And so arrived the moment so many had been waiting for, betting on, planning towards, wondering when……and at the same time, worrying about. The day when British Prime Minister the Right Honourable Theresa May, stepped out of one of the most recognised and iconic doors in the world – 10 Downing Street – to make it real:

24.05.2019, 10:00am London time, her words were spoken…

“it is now clear to me that it is in the best interests of the country for a new prime minister to lead that (Brexit deal approval) effort. So I am today announcing that I will resign as the leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party on Friday 7 June so that a successor can be chosen.”

In the days leading up to the moment all knew were coming, local media put forward their most desperate images and clever headlines in an effort to capture the essence of the angst of the moment. Focus was on failure: what had Her Excellency Prime Minister May NOT achieved? Where had she proven unable to lead? Why is this now the moment to admit defeat?

Sadly, and so reflective of the times in which we live, the macro is eclipsed by the micro. Those who should be celebrated for stepping forward and trying, with all of their faith, might, acumen, credibility and prayer, are faced with a chorus of watchers-on waiting for them to step out, demanding that they step out.

How does this happen?

How do people who enter an intensely competitive, challenging, aggressive, often damning space for the good of the people go, so rapidly, from being trusted and respected political sources and certainties representing the will of the people to someone the people will willingly celebrate seeing their demise? How has civilisation become so painfully uncivilised?

And how is this take-down acceptable?

24 hours on since resignation, an endless flow of endless commentary is flooding in. Analysis continues,….accusations endure. For all of her words reflecting on tenure, the defining moment of Prime Minister May’s time in office will be her announcement of resignation – especially her tears – the last 10 seconds of her entire address in which she choked up in unedited expression of her enduring love for, and commitment to, the country she loves.

As the UK now enters into ‘who next?’ territory, much will be made of Prime Minister May’s term in office, and how, sadly, it close with her conceding:

I have done everything I can to convince MPs to back that deal. Sadly, I have not been able to do so.”

Not now, but one day, one day, history will judge, and honour, the fact that entering into the role of the Right Honourable Prime Minister on the back of a ‘leave‘ EU referendum, Prime Minister May did the best she could for the people of the UK, her people of the UK. Did her leadership yield the desired result? Clearly not. And so she now hands over the challenge of securing consensus to her successor.

And yet as she exits the stage, is it important to recognise and salute that, without question, she did her best, put it all out on the field?

No question about it.

Respect and decency where due. Thank you, Right Honourable Prime Minister May. Thank you, Ma’am. x


Copyright: ANITA MENDIRATTA 2019