Peace through Tourism by David Scowsill, President and CEO of WTTC


an article by Bea Broda, TravelTv for E Turbo News

The UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and stakeholders, namely the global private travel and tourism industry, had a say at the the IIPT World Symposium in Johannesburg today.

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Represented by David Scowsill, President and CEO of WTTC, this is what the World Travel and Tourism Council thinks on Peace through Tourism:

“WTTC wants to help the tourism industry to glow sustainably. Travel is the language of peace and it accounts for 9% of the world’s GDP and for 1 in 11 jobs. It employs over 12 million people in Europe and 63 million in Asia and 8 million in Africa. Tourism is glowing every year and is resilient. It grows 1% faster than the rest of the global economy annually. Beyond economics, it brings people together and is a force and driver for peace. We must harness the opportunities in rebuilding reconciliation and justice. It can be a source of conflict and uncertainty if no deployed effectively.

“IIPT promotes a higher purpose of tourism, like reducing environmental impact. Such initiatives are widespread. Aggregating the data across the sector can be challenging, as sectors measure things for their own needs. The Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative has helped with agreed upon metrics and measurements. Best examples of sustainable tourism are recognized annually.

“Providing skills training is vital to development and tourism drives this as we strive to meet the needs of consumers. Over the next ten years some 40 million jobs could be at risk if the industry does not train people with the skills. Hospitality training is critical and there are initiatives to foster this.

Tourism calls on many sectors and is keeping an eye on the supply chain. Tourism stimulates and also depends on connectivity. It helps people when they need it most, like planes helping during typhoons and supporting relief efforts.

Tourism calls on many sectors and is keeping an eye on the supply chain. Tourism stimulates and also depends on connectivity. It helps people when they need it most, like planes helping during typhoons and supporting relief efforts.

Governments must be encouraged to a more peaceful future.

“Travel and tourism is a primal force, it doesn’t just mean holiday. What we have in common matters a lot. The more people travel and understand each other, the less chance there is of war. It’s an interdependence that can lead to more cooperation and peace.

“The economic impact of tourism is increasingly understood and we are making headway with the social benefits. People instinctively share travel with their friends; it broadens the mind, mends fences and breaks down negative perception. We have a really powerful message, and peace security and understanding can be fostered through tourism.”

Question related to this article:

How can tourism promote a culture of peace?

Comment by Liliana Mota, October 23, 2013

Why tourism?

Can tourism be seen as an instrument to achieve complicity between people’s minds?

“There is nothing better that connects two people’s mind than a good conversation” The above quote could be used to describe the effect which tourism has on people. Like a great conversation, tourism could be said to play a vital role amongst people all over the world. It fosters communication in all its senses, intercultural dialogue and mutual understanding.

In today’s world it is evident that there is a shortage of moral or ethical values amongst people across the different nations in this world, resulting in a globalised world lacking these morals and ethical values. Ignorance, the failure to consider the needs of others, and selfishness are a few of the ways which hinder us from embracing diversity and a common human perspective, which would result informal empathy, internal moral compassion, tolerance of differences, historical consciousness and interpretation. The above mentioned features are intrinsic, inherent and can be found in the practice of tourism.

Tourism has been emphasized as one of the most effective instruments which continue to tackle to tackle social and economical poverty, as well as encourage the culture of peace practice amongst people. In looking at the UN architecture, one is able to see the growing implications which the tourism sector has on the world and world policies. The touristic phenomenon has achieved a world record of 5% of world’s GDP contribution and is responsible for 235 millions jobs, according to the UNWTO’s data. Often the tourism sector counts more than 20% of the countries’ GDP.

On the negative side of this, it is evident that tourism focuses on economical matters, depriving any focus on the global implications of the constant interaction tourism encourages.

In the literal sense, tourism is nothing more or less than people meeting with the willingness to understand each other’s differences and point of view and simultaneously creating the opportunity for dialogue, mutual understanding and peace to take place.

Apart from tourism, various factors could be seen to play a role in encouraging integration and diversity amongst societies across the world. For example, the cultural segment has played an essential source of people’s integration and inclusiveness in developing countries.

Education has also played a significant role in encouraging integration, and incorporation amongst people all over the world. Education has been reconsidered and proposed to being the catalyst for exchange between countries, cultures and sectors, and most importantly for enhancing the lives of people by granting them the opportunity to leave their poverty stricken lives and societies in exchange a for better future which includes job and exchange opportunities.

In the tourism world, differences play the most essential role, differences among people represents the added-value. Being different is always a positive factor that usually motivates and encourages people to get to move and engage with each other and embrace the differences with the use of spiritual, religious and cultural meanings.

This notion of tourism needs to be addressed in multilateral governance discussions, where all the main actors, the international community, the ministerial and experts, private sector, local institutions and civil society engages are all present, and are all willing to work together in combined efforts and initiatives (from poverty alleviation to the promotion of awareness of sustainable development addressing special needs like regional development, urban planning and protection of natural and cultural landscapes). This combined approach of working at the local level within communities and at the national and international level, in order to reach and engage the poor, has been considered as potentially being the “one possible and effective answer” and effective approach towards the world’s poorest areas where it can make a difference.