“I have watched the cultures of all lands blow around my house and other winds have blown the seeds of peace, for travel is the language of peace.” .. . Mahatma Gandhi
Does tourism promote culture of peace?
The tourism has become the important industry in the developing countries for the economic development. Tourism appears to be one of the few economic sectors able to guide a number of developing countries to higher levels of prosperity and for some to leave behind their least developed country status: As tourism is one of the world’s major industries and in continuously expanding. Tourism is the biggest and fastest growing industry in the world.
Peace is a precondition for travel and tourism and all aspects of human growth and development. Tourism can rise above governmental boundaries by bringing people closer together through the understanding of different cultures, heritages, and beliefs. Therefore, it is potentially one of the most important vehicles for promoting peace among the peoples of the world. Tourism society of England (1976) defines tourism as “Tourism is a temporary short term movement of people to destination outside the places where they normally live and work and their activities during the stay at each destination.” It includes movements for all purposes.
Alister Matheison and Geoffrey wall in their book “Tourism Economic, Physical and Social Impact” 1980 have tourism as “it is the temporary movement of the people to destination outside their normal places of work and residence, the activities undertaken during their stay in those destination and facilities created to cater to their needs.”
Tourism has a wide range of positive economic impacts. It contributes directly to sales, profits, jobs, tax revenues, and income in the primary tourism sectors such as hotels, restaurants and transportation.
Positive aspects of Tourism
* Provides employment opportunities
* Increases incomes and governmental revenues
* Increased gross national products
* Can promote local products and resources
* Promotes a global community
* Promotes international understanding and peace
As there are also negative aspect of tourism which creates the social problems, degrades natural physical environment and creates pollution. It also increases the crime, prostitution and gambling but in another way it can be develop as a part of tourism. There are some criticisms on tourism that creates conflict in the host country, and commercialize culture, region and arts.
So we can relate tourism and peace as peace can be simply known as “the absence of war” and calls for new positive concept of peace accepting the perspective of an organic and interconnected world. Regarding the peace; World tourism conference in Manila in 1980, declared that world tourism can be vital force for the world peace. So the tourism industry has a role of promoting global understanding, trust and world peace. Further, United Nations has also focused on peace and tourism and has identified creating peace through tourism is an important means to create peace in the world. Marxist theorist also assumed that inequality is a cause of conflict. More than inequality between individuals, rather inequality between ethnic groups or between regions referred as horizontal inequality.
The major thing is the movement of people as a tourism triggers important process of capital formation and wealth distribution. It also helps to change the fundamental nature and social cultural relation of the people. Moreover, tourism reduces social inequalities by uplifting the living conditions of marginalized people which also helps to reduce structural violence. From the peace studies point of view, we considers tourism has potential to reduce violence as tourism is consumed at the point of production of increasing opportunities for individual and micro enterprises to sell additional products or services. Tourism is also based on diversity
drawing from a large resources base which increases scope of wider participation. Tourism helps to raise living standard of people and deprived communities. Based on the common perception of the link between Tourism and peace, a number of scholars have argued for a role for tourism in the promotion of peace for specific countries. The relationship of the USA and the People’s Republic of China is a good example of the contribution of tourism to world peace.
After the terrorists’ attack to the World Trade Centre on the 11th of September 2001, there was a significant decline (6.8 per cent fewer international tourists visiting than the previous year) in the number of tourists as was seen in the financial difficulty of many aviation companies. Terrorist attacks have sprung up in many tourist destinations, such as Bali and more recently Madrid.
D’ Amore (1988) suggested that the key to a changed political relationship between the USA and the People’s Republic of China was opening travel in various forms such as conferences, sports and trade. The role of tourism in the promotion of peace compatible with liberalism has been supported by a number of examples such as relations between the USA and the People’s Republic of China and the People’s Republic of China and Taiwan. The nature of traditional society is both an expression and cause of underdevelopment. So major and fundamental changes must occur across social, cultural, political and economic values, institutions and patterns of action if modernization to occur.
There is a close relationship between economies and violent conflict. Conflict begins with the economic factor that makes some societies move to conflict. One of the main factors is poverty, mostly feature in civil wars. Economic growth is also associated with lower levels of conflict. If there would be policy that aim to promote growth in developing countries are in effect, agents of conflict prevention. Absence of war is an essential condition for peace and for the development, but it is not at all sufficient for any people to feel peaceful.
Peace contains more positive concept. Tourism is not only the beneficiary of peace, but also vital force for negative and positive peace. Tourism should be designed and conducted in a proper way because it has both benefits and costs to local and global economy and society, culture and environment. If all the actors play their own role, tourism can gradually lead to peace. Tourism can lead peace when it is properly conducted by each actor and when more people can have opportunities to serve in this sector.
Tourism is recognized as an instrument of social and cultural understanding by the opportunity offered to bring different people in contact and to provide facility of a acquisition and exchange of information about the way of life, cultures, languages and other social and economic endowments of the people as well as a change for making friendships and achieving goodwill and peace. The basic assumption of those who see tourism as a peace generator is that tourism allows people to know each other, to work with each other, and to learn to appreciate each other’s cultures and by so doing come to appreciate each other.
The role of tourism and peace can be viewed from two perspectives, namely socio cultural and political (Kunwar, 2010). The political perspective on tourism and world peace focuses upon tourism as a promoter of national integration and international understanding, goodwill and peace. Peace tourism sees every traveler as an ambassador to peace. Socially and environmentally responsible tourism helps to foster stability, economic equity, and ultimately, a more peaceful society.
Tourism can become a vital force to promote positive peace. Although tourism has negative and positive impacts, all the actors involved in tourism seems to recognize the necessity of global perspective, aided by the growing concern for sustainability in tourism. Based on a long-term perspective, tourism in a sustainable way can maximize the revenues of destination communities and governments and the profits of tourism enterprises, and keep attracting tourists and motivating local populations. Sustainable tourism satisfies tourists and host regions by protecting and enhancing opportunities for the future.
The ultimate aims of tourism should be heading towards creating a better quality of life for all people, tolerance, economic sustainability and the reduction of structural violence. It has been argued that tourism is a positive force able to reduce tension and hostility by promoting peace in international relations. Tourism has significant political implications in world politics and international relations. Governments can use tourism as a political leverage to either promote tourism with friendly countries or restrict tourism with hostile countries by controlling the movement of tourists and the opportunities to have people-to people contacts. Therefore promotion of tourism leads to establish the global “culture of peace”.
* Alon Gelbman (2008): Border Tourism in Israel: Conflict, Peace, Fear and Hope, Tourism Geographies: An International Journal of Tourism Space, Place and Environment, 10:2, 193-213
* Dallen J. Timothy (1999): Cross-Border Partnership in Tourism Resource Management: International Parks along the US-Canada Border, Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 7:3-4, 182-205
* Ap, John, and Turgut Var (1990): Does Tourism promote World Peace? Tourism Management 11(3):267-273
* Anson, Caroline (1991): Planning for Peace: The role of tourism in the aftermath of violence. journal of travel Research 38(1): 57-61