Message from Taleb Rifai,
Secretary General, World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)

On behalf of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), a specialized Agency of the United Nations, I am very pleased to welcome you to the PATWA International Seminar on Peace for Growth of Tourism.

Tourism in Asia and the Pacific continues to grow above expectations, advancing the economies, helping to preserve diverse cultures and environments, and contributing to efforts at lasting peace in the region.

I commend the Pacific Area Travel Writers Association (PATWA) for organizing this timely seminar and for their longstanding efforts to promote tourism in regional development agendas within Asia and the Pacific and internationally.

Globally, tourism is a pillar of peace and a cornerstone of development – creating jobs, reducing inequality, creating more prosperous and stable societies, and improving lives.

It is a powerful transformative force that broadens minds, builds bridges between people, communities and nations, and like few other economic sectors helps communities value themselves, their cultures and traditions, their environment, and their place in the world.

However, we must work together, across sectors and borders, to ensure that tourism contributes to sustainable social, economic and environmental development while continuing to promote global citizenship, tolerance and understanding. With 1.8 billion international arrivals expected in 2030, and the world working to reach the universal Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in that time, all of us must work together to ensure that tourism leads in providing opportunities for a sustainable and equitable planet.

In this vein I invite all of you to celebrate with us as we mark 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development – an important opportunity to promote and celebrate the contribution of tourism to a more sustainable, equitable, inclusive and peaceful future for all.

Taleb Rifai

Message from Dr. Walter Mzembi (M.P.)
Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Republic FF Zimbabwe UNWTO Regional Commission for Africa (CAF) Chair

As we advance to the end of the year, 2016, global citizens must surely hope that somehow the world will, this last quarter, get better and continue to strive for peace. No destination can sell nor package conflict, no matter how beautiful it might be as long as the environment is characterized by instability.

We are all peace ambassadors and let us have the desire to travel, and this drives tourism growth and enables voluntary capital transfers to other destinations. Destinations keep benefiting from solid peace, because peace guarantees safety and security of travelers. The world is awash with premium and creative tourist products and services. When a destination is peaceful, investment grows on the basis of “Visit-Trade and Invest”, with everything staring with visiting.

On the overall tourism will continue to grow from 25 million in 1950, has grown incrementally to 1.2 billion in 2015. No sector has had such exponential growth, and the ‘self’ (tourist) seeks ways of comprehending and even experiencing the other, for purposes of mutual understanding and mutual co-existence, be it for a brief and limited period, or for a longer and extended period. In tourist ‘self’ largely seeks to deploy SOFT POWER to win over the ‘other’. It highlights commonalities between ‘self’ and ‘other’.

Terrorism on the other hand seeks to distance ‘self’ from ‘other’, and highlights differences between the two. Terrorism is judgmental, seeing ‘self’ as all righteous, and ‘other’ as otherwise. Most fundamentally, terrorism seeks to win over the ‘other’ to its side by coercion or force. It seeks, to deploy its HARD POWER.

Dr. Walter Mzembi (M.P.)

 

Message from Mario Hardy,
CEO, Pacific Area Travel Association (PATA)

 

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