Dear ICCA Members,
With winter upon us in the Southern Hemisphere, we have our heaters out, warm blankets on our beds, our slippers ever handy, and dark mornings, making it difficult to take the dogs for their morning walk. Nobody is really wanting to get out of bed or have a salad for lunch to stay healthy!
Having to travel to Europe this time of year is just a wonderful blessing and inspiration – a respite if you like from the cold! I am sure that everyone enjoys the beauty and joy of spring and summer with the warm sunshine and late summer evenings.
The contrast between summer and winter, bright and dark, warm and cold is something we expect and perhaps do not always appreciate. The challenges we currently experience with climate change and global warming, have perhaps heightened this awareness but I am not sure we always pay attention and appreciate the importance of the seasons and the impact that they have on us and the survival of humanity. We have become so self-absorbed with our work and specific objectives, that we often don’t look up and appreciate what is around us and the environment we inhabit.
But as with the seasons that change, for good reason and with great importance, so too do we personally have to change and adapt within our lives and our situations. My youngest son has recently celebrated his 14th birthday. This is a wonderful milestone, however this makes me feel very vulnerable as his mother and as a woman. To me it feels like yesterday that he was a baby, but time has and will continue to pass so quickly and soon I fear he will be leaving school and home. This fills me with dread. What has happened is that my role and our relationship has gradually changed and much like the seasons, this has happened without much noise or fanfare – it is a fact of life. The changing of tides.
But instead of dwelling on the fact that I am getting old – it is best to look up, look forward, count the wonderful blessings and to celebrate what was, what is now and be optimistic about the future. Change is necessary and inevitable.
Most recently during dinner at home one evening, we were discussing with our sons the relevance of learning English and History at school. Our eldest son is dyslexic and therefore languages are extremely difficult for him to master. "Why do we have to learn about Shakespeare, mom? Who is going to speak like that ever again mom!? O Romeo, Romeo wherefore art thou Romeo?" The only response that I could give is that the curriculum was not going to change for him and he had to learn and pass the exams! Or else!
The next subject under discussion was History – "why do we need to know all this stuff?". To me this is a much more pertinent subject as I feel strongly that history is imperative to our future performance and growth. We need to reflect on our past and use it as a guide to improve ourselves and not repeat mistakes.
Recently I was doing some research and for some reason was looking at the history of ICCA and the 50th celebration in 2013 that was compiled. Over the years ICCA has been blessed with many great leaders, board members and passionate members who changed the course of our sector. ICCA was originally founded by 3 visionary travel agents and I wonder if they ever would have imagined how the association would evolve.
As with the changing of the seasons, change must occur for us to continue our growth and development. This year ICCA will experience a change of Presidential leadership, the election of some new board members, as well as the stepping down of our current CEO. Some may see this as a threat or be concerned by all this change, but I think that it is positive and will bring new opportunities for everyone involved. After all, if we had summer all year round we would not be able to look forward to the changing of the seasons, and we would not prepare for winter!
With the depth of experience that ICCA has from our past learnings and leaders and our current dynamic and passionate team, our aspiration is that this change will be sowing the seed for a new phase and developments that promise to be dynamic and exciting with the potential to take us to the next level of engagement and growth.
Yours in ICCA,
Nina Freysen-Pretorius, ICCA President