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Peace Tourism: Here’s Why ‘Travelling For Peace’ Is So Important

The Human Race is on..Travellers from birth embark on a journey of discovery through life, geographically speaking, on a roadmap to growth. However this yellow brick road is in serious jeopardy, as mankind fuels a mad obsession for technological progress which tends to derail response to barriers in the way of personal geographical progress . Without peace there can be no tourism, which is why every traveller should be an ambassador for peace – International Institute For Peace Through Tourism IIPT. Tourism is ‘an agent for peace‘ which is why peace tourism is so essential. 

Peace is a calm condition, without concern, does not cause worry, conflict and confrontation. Peace is deemed a universal ideal. Peace is one of the oldest ideals of Mankind, and a solid establishment of peace in the world has a direct connection to human rights. Tourism – a global phenomenon – made up of several dimensions with deep amazing effects which different nations around the world, have faced directly, and by welcoming travellers and tourists from all corners of the world, pursue suitable solutions for its improvement and promotion. Tourism is a suitable tool which can be utilised to bring cultures closer together and benefits it by teaching peoples on other cultures and environments.

The potential for peace tourism to spearhead change

Tourism has immense potential for peacemaking mainly because of its prominence as a global industry. The major assumption behind the notion of peace tourism is that when people travel frequently all over the world, it helps them get to know new people, cultures and values. That experience is capable of increasing mutual understanding among people who have been living in diverse cultural backgrounds. Furthermore, such travel also benefits the host countries economically and politically.

peace tourism
Tourism is not a generator of peace but a “beneficiary of peace.” Tourism is only possible in areas where peace is present; it is absent in war zones, much diminished in areas of high conflict and tension as tourists generally tend to visit destinations only if those places are free from violence. 

Peace tourism expresses the importance of having “positive peace” rather than merely eliminating direct violence. To tone down the negative effects and promote tourism as a sustainable industry, there are three main sectors that should be functioning and coordinated together.

First, “host communities” should focus more on the quality of service that they deliver to incoming tourists and must be responsible for protecting their surrounding environment (ecosystems). Secondly, governments should make available the necessary infrastructure expansion and must implement essential “regulatory mechanisms” to protect the industry from exploitation and environmental degradation.

Finally, foreign stakeholders should support local initiatives through investment or provide the necessary support that is required for the qualitative growth of the tourism industry  Tourism provides the opportunity for communities to generate income even if they are “poor economically, but rich in culture”. It has the potential to provide direct and indirect employment for a large assortment of people in various social strata including part-time and seasonal job opportunities for many people. Tourism can also provide supplemental income generation to people who already have other jobs. 

The power of tourism and its ability to build lasting governmental relationships

Furthermore, tourism can improve government-to-government, government-to-private citizens and citizen-to-citizens’ relationships. The spreading of knowledge and information on culture, society, and perspectives through these levels of relationships are significant in this form of diplomacy. Except for tourist projects that initiate infrastructure development (airports, roads, improved water and sanitation systems, etc.), tourist projects will become beneficial not only for tourists but also for the local people. Another major objective of peace tourism is to cross ethnic, race and regional boundaries

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. The UNWTO Sustainable Developmental Goals 16 focuses on Peace Justice and Strong Institutions.

As tourism revolves around billions of encounters between people of diverse cultural backgrounds, the sector can foster multicultural and inter-faith tolerance and understanding, laying the foundation for more peaceful societies. Tourism, which benefits and engages local communities, can also consolidate peace in post-conflict societies.

The belief that travel facilitates understanding between people of different racial, cultural or national origin and promotes world-peace is widespread and time-honoured, echoed in poems and proverbs and advocated by the political, civic and church leaders. This has the potential to promote inclusiveness, the values of a culture of tolerance, peace and non-violence, and all aspects of global exchange and citizenship.

popular forests in the UK

At the heart of the power of tourism is its ability to foster peace, understanding as these connections are opportunities to create more inclusive, peaceful, stable and equitable societies. In order to promote the use of tourism as an instrument for peace, UNWTO launched the project “Tourism and Peace” in collaboration with the  Austrain Government’s  and the University of Kla- genfurt, Centre for Peace Research and Peace Education.The findings of this Project was that tourism can positively affect development and help lay down the building blocks of peace, provided it respects the environment and the local people. For tourism—particularly international tourism—to flourish, a nation needs to be peaceful and safe.

The ultimate promise of peace through tourism is that the tourism encounter can be used and is most visible in contemporary global tourism. Tourism has the potential to contribute to world peace, and through appropriate management, to address current realities such as globalization, migration, conflicts, prejudices and poverty. 

How tourism brings people together

“Tourism is a vehicle for trust and goodwill. Cultural understanding can change attitudes and build peace. Tourism’s role in peacebuilding is also enacted through its contribution to poverty alleviation, cultural preservation and environmental conservation,” said President of Sri Lanka Maithripala Sirisena .

 “We face a deficit of tolerance. Tourism brings people together; it opens our minds and hearts”, said UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai, “Yet to gain peace we need to give people opportunities for a better future; we need to create jobs and bring them hope,” 

The contribution of tourism development to peace, local community involvement and ‘peace sensitive tourism’, public/private partnerships, and marketing in post-conflict destinations.

International Institute for Peace through Tourism(www.iipt.org) and International Cities for Peace ( www.internationalcitiesofpeace.org) are 2 organisations amongst many that  work closely with UNWTO . These organisations are focused on keeping the Peace issue top of mind globally

The International Institute of Peace through Tourism has developed the following: 

Credo of the Peaceful Traveller

Grateful for the opportunity to travel and experience the world and because peace begins with the individual, I affirm my personal responsibility and commitment to:

  • Journey with an open mind and gentle heart
  • Accept with grace and gratitude the diversity I encounter
  • Revere and protect the natural environment which sustains all life
  • Appreciate all cultures I discover
  • Respect and thank my hosts for their welcome
  • Offer my hand in friendship to everyone I meet
  • Support travel services that share these views and act upon them and,
  • By my spirit, words and actions, encourage others to travel the world in peace

Also Read: Prabhat Verma Writes For The Dope: ‘Finland Is A Role-Model For Sustainability’

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