In the 21st Century, people have seen conflicts worldwide emerge to an unimaginable number. These Conflicts engulf most of the world, unlike within a nation and between two countries. The Primary cause of this is generally the poor political systems governing these regions resulting in the downfall of integrity and service of the nation to its people. There are also several activists and movements to counter these conflicts through peace but they remain ineffective. One of the approaches is tourism is gravely misunderstood as a product of capitalism and can lead to Peacebuilding.
Tourism and its Impact
Tourism is a universal phenomenon that involves travelling from one place to another for pilgrimage, pleasure, experience, education and business. Considering the financial constraints, It can be done in one’s nation too. As each region has people and cultures that are unique to itself, it allows for an opportunity for its exploration. It caters for the choice of tourists with diverse preferences for domestic and international travel. Considering the example of India, where the country is home to such a diverse culture sometimes travelling from one place to another feels like travelling abroad.
Tourism brings together people of different cultures and regions and fosters better mutual understanding. Accompanying this is the host country people’s courteous, friendly and helpful approach to the tourists. It helps in fostering long-lasting relationships between several people across borders of different cultures paving the way for peace. Other benefits that it offers to the participating regions are also benefitting them and their people in an impactful manner. Tourism coherently participates in peace treaties among people.
Tourism is a crucial source of revenue and job creation, particularly for developing countries. It is a driving force for poverty alleviation, job creation and social harmony and the role of tourism in creating mutual understanding and Social harmony can be the leading one. This is the largest peace movement worldwide, and it plays a vital role in fostering mutual understanding. It can largely contribute to the post-conflict regions bringing together the people who suffered and fostering the seeds of peace.
Conflict and Tourism
Conflict itself is a dreadful act that disrupts a person’s inner calm. It emerges the feelings of fear and terror within one who is suffering the most. The actuality is that it affects both sides of the coin to a great extent resulting in a disturbance of the stability of individuals whether they are directly involved in the conflict or not. Conflict acts as a water ripple effect, affecting the people as well as nations. This whole act of the conflict also on the contrary develops feelings of empathy, and kindness towards the ones suffering or those who had suffered.
The result of this tension makes contact between those who are serviced by tourism necessary. Structures such as War-Memorials, conflict impacted regions as such holds a cultural impact and influence that needs to be fulfilled. The fulfilling medium in Tourism is where he caters for the need of people who wish to pay their respects to those who suffered. Exploration and Documentation of these spaces is also an underlying task that motivates one to indulge in conflict-affected regions. This also poses a risk from the security perspective but can be managed if Tourism is mentioned appropriately through government intervention.
Shaping the Post-Conflict Regions
The post-conflict destinations develop a unique set of tourism types, many of which are often formed or moulded into a particular shape of the conflict itself. The important factor is the nature of governance in post-conflict destinations in how post-conflict societies are presented to tourists. Tourism is recognized for its capabilities by organizations like the WTO and the EU. They acknowledge its social dimension and potential in fostering as well as sustaining World Peace.
Tourism promotes cultural understanding, mutual respect and peace among the conflict regions. It allows the visitors to understand and appreciates the culture, monuments, music, cuisine etc. which greatly influence them. Due to the act’s ability to bridge cultural and psychological divides, it has benefited world politics and promoted peace on a global scale. This develops a natural mutual understanding and friendship among nations and hence there exists dialogue between the two nations.
Tourism act as a social force promoting international understanding and cooperation. It involves cross-cultural interaction among people of conflict regions and different nations and hence helps in building better understanding and peaceful relations. It is inherently linked to political science. As tourism involves different aspects of the public domain such as the development of societies, the use of natural and cultural resources, health, transport and infrastructure, public safety and border management.
We can consider promoting tourism as promoting the larger goal of peace and harmony worldwide. Tourism enriches friendship among nations through the promotion of dialogue, peace and goodwill. Especially seeing its impact in Post-conflict nations, it can transition into a symbol of peace. The tenet is that tourism has the power to contribute to peace, through the improvement of human relations and perceptions and the cultivation of understanding among people, which is widespread and time-honoured.
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- International Institute For Peace Through Tourism IIPT. (2020). Role of tourism in the mutual understanding and social harmony. [online] Available at: https://peacetourism.org/role-of-tourism-in-the-mutual-understanding-and-social-harmony/ [Accessed 7 Aug. 2023].
- UNESCO / Keizo Obuchi Research Fellowships Programme. (2015). Effective approaches fostering reconciliation in conflict and post-conflict situations by intercultural dialogue. [online] Available at: https://en.unesco.org/fellowships/keizo-obuchi/summary-research-carried-out/effective-approaches-fostering-reconciliation-conflict-and-post [Accessed 7 Aug. 2023].