Taleb Rifai, Secretary-General, World Tourism Organization, writes in the Foreword:
With over one billion tourists travelling the world every year, tourism has become a worldwide social and cultural phenomenon that engages people of all nations as both hosts and guests. The fundamental experience of tourism – visiting a new place and meeting its people and culture – is a transformative aspect that defines tourism’s role as an agent of peace.
Never before have people travelled so widely, nor encountered such a wide variety of cultures. These connections spur dialogue and exchange, break down cultural barriers and promote the values of tolerance, mutual understanding and respect. In a world constantly struggling for harmonious coexistence, these values espoused by tourism are integral to building a more peaceful future. Indeed, peace is the cornerstone of travel and tourism, and essential to social growth and development. It is against this backdrop that tourism has been hailed as the first “Global Peace Industry”.
Yet in spite of tourism’s positive global impact, its full potential as an instrument for peace remains to be realised. I trust that this International Handbook on Tourism and Peace will help enhance our understanding of the intrinsic relationship between the tourism sector and global peace-building efforts.
Published within the framework of the project “Tourism and Peace”, an initiative by World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the University of Klagenfurt in Austria, this book offers a range of perspectives from leading specialists from all over the world, covering topics from sustainable development and conflict resolution to ecotourism and heritage preservation.
These pages provide invaluable insights on the vital role tourism plays in paving the way towards a more peaceful planet and open new possibilities to foster tourism as an instrument of peace, and I would like to extend our deep appreciation for all those who contributed their experience and knowledge to this project.
In today’s increasingly diverse and globalised world, the message of peace through tourism has never borne more significance. By all coming together, each as Ambassadors of tourism and peace, we will continue to come closer to realising our shared vision of a better world.
Read about the United Nations World Tourism Organization here: http://www2.unwto.org/content/who-we-are-0–
Note: The International HANDBOOK on Tourism and Peace can be downloaded for free at http://www.uni-klu.ac.at/frieden/downloads/International_Handbook_on_Tourism_and_Peace(2).pdf or attached for easy reference.