Through international visitor arrival (IVA) data and short historical perspectives the study examines how peace, democracy and ending geopolitical and ethno-cultural conflicts between and within countries can facilitate phenomenal growth in travel and tourism.
The report, titled ‘How Travel & Tourism Benefits From Peace – A Statistical Analysis of the Asian Experience’, cites the example of 12 countries in both South Asia and Southeast Asia that have emerged from decades of colonialism and conflict in the last few decades and have begun to convert battlefields into trading/tourism fields.
The study shows clearly that travel and tourism is booming in those countries which are at peace but lagging in those still grappling with either internal or external conflicts.
“If peace prevails, tourism can flourish. Tourism helps economies to grow; it reduces the disparity between social classes; it alleviates poverty and, most importantly, it provides an opportunity for people to develop a better understanding of each other,” said PATA CEO Mario Hardy. “With this report we want to show in simple numbers the positive benefits that travel and tourism can bring to a destination. We want to give a sense of hope to those who are still affected by conflict and show them the path to a better future. We can learn from our past and improve our future and we hope that this report will help readers to better understand the benefits that tourism can bring to our world.”
Mr. Hardy voiced hope that the study will be used by leaders in both the public and the private sectors to make peace-building as much a part of the travel and tourism agenda as advancing its economic benefits and alleviating climate change.
The study’s author is Imtiaz Muqbil, Executive Editor of Travel Impact Newswire. He said, “While ‘acts of God’ are beyond human control, man-made disasters are not. If the over-arching objective of the UN Sustainable Development Goals is to reduce poverty, that is not achievable without peace. If travel and tourism is to make a serious contribution to achieving the goals of national development agendas, it will have to build and enforce peace and not merely talk about it.
“As travel and tourism has become an indispensable part of the regional development equation it becomes critical for the industry at large to explore the broader dynamics of preserving peace and preventing conflict. Similar to the well-known dogma of the rapidly growing health and wellness sector, prevention is better than cure,” he added.