What is the relationship between tourism and peace? The possible associations of tourism with peace are dialogue; sharing; living together; learning; experience; social responsibility; civic responsibility. We can say that peace is all that and much more.
Tourism is more than a socio-cultural phenomenon. The link between tourism and the creation of peaceful relations at different levels (from inner peace to international peace) is among the socio-cultural impacts and effects of its cross-cultural dynamics. One of the main promoters of this link between tourism and peace is the International Institute for Peace through Tourism (IIPT), promoting an annual global conference and for sharing information for consultation on their website. The IIPT was one of the first international organizations (1980) to promote the vision “travel and tourism becoming the world’s first global peace industry and the belief that every traveller is potentially an “Ambassador for Peace. We must warn that tourism does not generate peace but it is a catalyst for peace.
Tourism, Peacebuilding and reflections
Tourism is a tool that brings together people who exchange reflective symbols of each other. Tourism is a device that allows contact with each other, experience of different cultures and people and allows that some walls to be broken down. Tourism is a multiplying fruit with a “cascading effect” on special inter-relations.
This conclusion is reflected in the thoughts of W. Hunziker, a theorist on tourism economics, who said that tourism ‘is one of the main factors in bringing people together and thus maintaining peaceful relations’ (apud Krippendorf 2001, p82). Tourism is of great importance in the processes of social and cultural reconstruction in places affected by conflict. Tourism is not only a user of peace, but also a peace-building element (Savignac, 1994, s.p.) because “peace is a necessary condition for the development and promotion of tourism in any country” (D’Amore, 1988: 38; Litvin, 1998: 64).
If these two concepts have such identical characteristics, why not take advantage of them and make them a tool for building responsible tourism for the benefit of peace.
Quinteiro & Baleiro present in their book a summary of the most relevant ideas about the concept of tourism:
(i) a human phenomenon that presupposes the voluntary and temporary movement of people to places other than their usual places of residence, motivated by the desire for leisure practices.
(ii) a complex system of relationships between people (those who visit and those who are visited).
(iii) a movement between geographical points driven by curiosity or the need to travel outside one’s usual places of residence.
(iv) an economic activity or industry with a huge impact on the life of many cities, regions and countries and employing about 100 million people worldwide. (2017, pg. 14)
The Secretary-General’s Policy Committee of United Nations- Peacebuilding Support Office has described peacebuilding thus: “Peacebuilding involves a range of measures targeted to reduce the risk of lapsing or relapsing into conflict by strengthening national capacities at all levels for conflict management, and to lay the foundations for sustainable peace and development. Peacebuilding strategies must be coherent and tailored to the specific needs of the country concerned, based on national ownership, and should comprise a carefully prioritized, sequenced, and therefore relatively narrow set of activities aimed at achieving the above objectives”. (2007, pg. 5).
A WorldCloud analysis was also conducted to summarize the most used words of the two concepts detailed above (see Figure 1)
The most prominent words are PLACES and PEOPLE, which meets the essence of what is tourism and peacebuilding. Tourism is made with people and places, without these two elements tourism wouldn´t exist and in the same way peace cannot be built without people and places. This coincidence is very interesting, in fact the experiences, memories and emotions of tourists are the vital tools to build the places. Because the “ontological relationship EU-TU” and the “objective experience EU-ISO” are the “two fundamental attitudes of man before the world”. (BARTHOLO, 2001, p. 79). Tourism contributes to peace in two ays, in one hand the visitor who is going to “look again, rethink, re-evaluate, resignify not only the situation, the environment, the practices experienced at that time and in that place, but many of his past experiences” (MOESCH, 2007, p. 11).
In the other hand, the places visited, because it allows “raising the living standards of the communities of destination”; respects and helps to “protect the biophysical and socio-cultural environments of the community”; when it encourages “the development of favourable attitudes among visitors and residents of the destination”; cultivates, adopts and promotes “the culture of peace among the citizens of the world” Moufakkir and Kelly (2010a, p. 277)
These perspectives are reflected in the declaration of Amman (2000), whose theme was Peace through Tourism, offers a commitment of essential content to the role of tourism as a promoter of cultural diplomacy, as stated in the text “Peace is an essential precondition for travel and tourism”. It reflects the importance of both the visitor’s and host’s role. Tourism is about the individual who shares his or her experience when travelling, but who will also experience another culture, allowing the creation of a bilateral dialogue.
Tourism, and more specifically the tourist, is an essential element in the social and cultural evolution of a consensus for building global peace.
The approach of these two together is not a recenttopic, but it has been disregarded, at the end of the 20th century (1929) the British Travel and Holiday Association communicated that for their first meeting the motto would be “Journey for Peace”, a primary way of alerting to the factor of the relationship between peace building and travel. In 1967, in the UN International Year of Tourism, the awareness of the importance of this association was reinforced, the slogan associated with the theme for that year was “Tourism: Passport for Peace”. Awareness of the relevance of this symbiosis is beginning to awaken new dialogues and awareness of both sides must gain from its interrelationship.
In 1986, the International Institute for Peace through Tourism (IITP) was consolidated and after two years of its existence held a global conference with the theme “Tourism: a vital force for peace” an opportunity to raise awareness about the issue. The binomial of these terms – tourism and peace – as we can observe in the media and in the political agendas, is that the subjects are sometimes dealt with in sets apart, because there are diverse and superior political and economic interests. The construction of a network that links the paths of peace with tourist activity becomes relevant for social renewal and consequently its development, Jara points this out “Networks represent a strategy of struggle and cooperation of social groups that make up the fragmented society to transform it, [in which] relationships of trust, reciprocity and cooperation facilitate the construction of processes of social change and development. (1999, p. 7). UNESCO in 2000 presented new guidelines for the new millennium, a document approved by the UN in 2002, which reinforces the need for a union between various actors, especially this relationship between the self and the other:
“We are facing a critical moment in Earth’s history, a time when humanity must choose its future. As the world becomes increasingly independent and fragile, the future faces both great dangers and great promises. To move forward, we must recognize that during a magnificent diversity of cultures and ways of life, we are one human family and one earth community with a common destiny. We must join forces to generate a sustainable global society based on respect for nature, universal human rights, economic justice and a culture of peace. To achieve this, it is imperative that we, the peoples of Earth, declare our responsibility to one another, to the great community of life, and to future generations” (UNESCO, 200, p.1)
Some countries work in uniformity with this binomial because they have seen the advantages that it brings, but for other countries the issues are analysed separately. Tourism is a source of income for the state and population but sometimes peace is not part of the analyses because it is not an income, it is not counted in money, but on the contrary, everyone would benefit from its repercussions.
We are talking about a public good, an individual and collective value, a social and cultural transformation that the world is currently undergoing, are a foundation for implementing new multi-sector strategies across generations. Taking advantage of the wealth of awareness of generations Z, Y, X, baby boomers, veterans even though they are different, that is, there is awareness of differences, the generational shock exists, but this is the right step towards sharing knowledge and wisdom forming the basis of the community. This sharing emerges a new common sense and thus the deepening of Peacebuilding and the creation of an Art of Peace.
[…] is a stratified experiment. Being shared, the stratification of the experience is responsible for the affinity of social location. The same events that make up the collection of experiences of a generation form the style of knowledge and action characteristic of each generation (Ferrrigno 2003, p.41-42).
Peace is not only an absence of war but it is necessary “to take a new look at the concept of peace, as it has made it possible to understand it not only as a synonym for the cessation of war conflicts between states, but also as a notion directly related to issues such as development and human rights” ( Kemer, Pereira , & Blanco, 2016). This same concept derives more and more from the collective consciousness of humanity, the new technologies have greatly helped to amplify the perception and knowledge of realities, there is a global culture.
The new technologies helped to change the paradigm, stereotype and stigma that some countries had, the openings of new channels make possible a new education and openness to communication networks amplifiers of peace. The United Nations (UN) in the International Year of Sustainable Tourism reinforced this binomial, tourism and peace with the following declaration: “Promote greater understanding between peoples everywhere, leading to greater awareness of the rich heritage of various civilizations and a better appreciation of the values inherent in different cultures, thus contributing to strengthening world peace” (UNESCO, 2019).
The peace-building tourism segments
Awareness for the various social, cultural and ethnic differences so as characteristic of the tourism sector combined with the adoption of hospitality practices is an important vehicle for promoting social peace.
In recent years, hospitality has been studied in the Tourism and Hospitality Sectors, as their main objectives are the exchange of products, services and personal interactions (Grinover, 2002). However, there is no consensus on the definition of hospitality, which leads to a certain ambiguity, because it is a tool that also varies according to different contexts and cultures. For such hospitality to be implemented it is necessary to know the particularities of the different cultures of the countries visited and of the visitors themselves, in order to increase the well-being of both the sender and the receiver. Brottherton refers to this in his definition of hospitality as “a contemporary human exchange, undertaken voluntarily and designed to increase the mutual well-being of the parties involved by offering accommodation and/or food and/or drink” (2004, p. 66).
The interest given to the origins of visitors is important to make them feel accepted in the country visited. It is also essential for tourists to be aware of the customs of the community to be able to respect the environment where they are inserted and thus there is a dual way. This respect, perception, acquiescence, mutual condescension strengthens the communicative skills and interpersonal relationships.
Tourism must assume a role as a “catalyst for positive changes in world behaviour”. (Bokova, 2017). For this merger to work in full the role of each element must be consciously worked on, as Martha Honey says when referring to some case studies on India, Nigeria and Kenya “peace must be more than an absence of conflict, and tourism must be worked on in a way that truly benefits the local communities and the environment”. (Honey, 2017).
A great model of the application and result of this junction is Iran (IranTourism, 2019). When we reflect on Iran, we associate the country generally with the term discord. This is particularly due to the media reporting on a “toxic geopolitical agenda” and as a consequence “the vast majority are literally afraid of traveling to Iran, due to the image and reputation of this country abroad, particularly in the West” (Carbone, 2019).
Iran, a country with a history of millennia (ancient Persia) being one of the oldest civilizations in the world and with a traditionally authentic culture. A culture very much bound to traditions, but open to new challenges and ready to reverse the image that many people have of Iran. The Portuguese climber João Garcia, during her passage through Iran describes the Iranian people in her book of 2014 “14 A Life on the Ceilings of the World” as follows: “The Iranians are extremely warm, welcoming, curious about foreigners.
Their hospitality is almost a reason for competition – Ok; today you sleep here, but tomorrow you have to stay at home”. And it is through tourism that the people and the state of Iran want to convey a message that promotes intercultural dialogue, peace and rectifies the pejorative image. This whole process, which is still growing, is being developed with the International Institute for Peace through Tourism (IIPT) as a support pillar (http://peacetourism.org/).
Another important example is Brazil, a country with several internal conflicts that the government is unable to resolve. In the Joseane Alves dos Santos master’s thesis (2019), the research had as a starting point “how Tourism can contribute to the pacification and inclusion of the communities around the APA Copper Basin / São Bartolomeu Park”. The zone chosen to test the “Tourism and Peace” project was the Yellow Island and River Seine zone of the Copper Basin/Parque São Bartolomeu, Salvador – BA, part of the Special Zone of Social Interest – ZEIS, which covers the most needy and conflictive areas of the city (PMS, 2016, pg. 92,226). This zone also has a wealth of tourism products, especially many natural elements, not yet developed. The research group carried out a series of fieldwork, identifying the positive and negative focuses of the implementation of Peace strategies through Tourism. We present below a table that reflects all this analysis based on the focus groups:
Table 1: Tools for Peace through Tourism, Focus Groups and Analysis Categories (Joseane Alves dos Santos pg 86-87)
There are still no concrete results on the study due to lack of research, but it is an excellent initiative and has resulted in the creation of “a permanent study nucleus to deepen the aspects of Peace Tourism in the region with repercussions for Brazil”. This study will make it possible to verify in which ways these strategies contribute to the link between the communities, while at the same time certain activities, reports and dialogues may be nutritious for other conflicts.
In Colombia, some former warriors of the demobilized FARC group metamorphosed a guerrilla camp in a fraction of tourist activity, within the ecotourism area, the project is called “Tierra Grata Ecotours” (https://colombia.unmissions.org/as%C3%AD-es-el-turismo-por-la-paz-que-ofrecen-excombatientes-de-farc-en-el-cesar), whose focus, and using tourism, is on the one hand to raise funds in order to help in the peace process that is still going on, and on the other hand to foster tourism by showing a new image of Colombia. The tourist can enjoy the facilities, taste the guerrilla food used during the war, use “Cuban stove” and have long talks with the former guerrillas. The ex-combatants were trained professionally in the various areas in order to welcome tourists.
In this project there are several advantages, in one hand the local population, who have developed a tourism product and through it also income, which will provide you with a better quality of life. In the other hand, the ex-combatants essentially want to convey the message that conflicts are not favourable at all, that violent struggles are useless and that dialogue and acceptance of the other are the most important point because the only mark that remains of this conflict were victims.
“The reintegration of ex-combatants into civilian life is a key part of peacebuilding in areas that have suffered from an armed conflict” (https://journals.openedition.org/viatourism/3551?lang=fr)
These kinds of activities that associate social, cultural, reintegration and development will enable tourists to carry with them a set of experiences, a rich message, lived in first hand, with authentic experiences, sometimes frightening, but elucidative about a reality of the sentimental outsider and so this coexistence will not remain merely in memory, because it left its mark. The message will not remain only in La Paz, Cesar will surely run the world.
Elsewhere, the World Tourism Organization (WTO) and other global representatives have announced the establishment of the “World Code of Ethics in Tourism” (WCT). The great inspiration for this code was undoubtedly the need to strive for intercultural dialogue, prosperity, tolerance, openness of spirit and respect for others and the worldwide building of responsible tourism. In the preface of the speech it was said “deeply convinced that, by the direct, spontaneous and non-mediated contacts it allows between men and women of different cultures and ways of life, tourism represents a living force in the service of peace, as well as a factor of friendship and understanding between peoples of the world” (OMT, 1999).
Indeed, through tourism we can do all that, but the scarcity of a real commitment to the tie-up still has a long way to go. Tourism can be a simplifying driver to drive the message associated with peace building.
Tourism is a globalised industry, there are no borders, so it is a potential peacemaker of global importance.
This expansion allows a coupling and exchange between the various markets and tourism products, this interrelationship will simplify the building of an understanding between different cultures.
The exchange of experiences between different cultures covers the way of understanding and especially brings the respect for the other, and naturally peace is installed discreetly. Tourism, by itself, does not build peace, but the relationship and characteristics that the tourism brings together with the association with several other ingredients that originate the recipe – The Peace Cake. This recipe must be adorned by all public and private institutions at all levels. A multilateral agreement between all is indispensable to understand each other’s needs, because we cannot generalize, we must consider each case and adapt to each reality so that conflict does not arise, but a global alliance.
The perception and mutual respect between the different peoples are the basis for a responsible tourist who, when travelling, understands that his experience is an experience of exchange.
We conclude this text with a sentence, a profound thought of Pope Francis “All citizens are responsible for building peace”. All tourists and receptor community have a role and can be ambassadors of PEACE.
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