Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tourism Progress and Peace in Former War Zones

Tourism has the potential to contribute to world peace, and through appropriate management, to address current realities such as globalization, migration, conflicts, prejudices and poverty. In former conflict areas the interrelation between peace, conflict resolution and tourism, the role of industry and the role of the individual are very essential, and tourism as a catalyst for change and development for this areas. In the former conflict areas there is more to peace than the absence of war and that there is more to tourism than economic interests will be considered by the individual investors, government and policymakers to boost the tourism as a key factor to building the last long peace.

A building which was damaged by War in Jaffna

Peace and harmony with yourself and others is the key to survival and through compassion and understanding, there are always possibilities to build and sustain a positive and permanent bridge between people. This is exactly what tourism and Peace has in common. When you tour a country and gain knowledge from what you experienced, there is the tendency that your understanding of others is upgraded to the positive or negative.  The more you know about the world the more we are closer to the achievement of Peace around the globe.

The more we integrate and communicate the better chances we have to understand each other. People who travel far and wide have a better understanding of the economic, political and cultural situation of others compared to somebody who has never travelled. Tourism can bring higher living standard in a country if well managed to serve the interest of the nation. The people who have access to the basic needs in advance societies can translate the meaning of Peace and it`s achievement in a different way compared to somebody from a poor economy without access to the basic needs.

A western tourist in Jaffna
Patterns of conflicts are very different form each other and each need its own approach of peace-keeping measures and conflict disengagement. The one thing that might certainly have a common positive effect on calming down sentiments after a conflict is tourism.However, some times the Local people might be shocked by the richness and holiday-behaviour that tourists bring along. Tourist, of course, will also be torn by the dramas they get to hear from local people. So, it’s very hard to implement the whole process. However, it can be done by a well-planned step-by-step implementation of tourism projects and depends on the size and kind of conflict that has just finished. And the financial power of local people and governments does play an important role as well.

Group of Western Tourists on the way to Nainatheevu
Post-war environments might not be seen fit and secure enough to encourage travellers to visit such a country or region, therefore: Local authorities must be encouraged to guarantee the safety and security that is needed for a touristic environment. The security forces in a former conflict zone are often say that tourism hinders their operations or that an area is not fit for tourism. However we always seen local civilians in former conflict zone are keen and happy to welcome tourists.

A tuk-tuk in front of a bullet ridden wall
The first businesses that will open in a post-conflict area are likely markets, restaurants, stalls at beautiful locations. Local authorities could, together with tour operators, encourage this kind of soft tourism first by directing day-trips into such a region. It is important that local people get the chance to participate in the business. Next might be information centres - tourists want to know about the conflict - but without being overrun by extreme views. Sensitive, yet open, ways of information are needed. Hotels and resorts will follow last. An investment into such projects needs long-term stability and sustained peace.There are success stories where tourism has encouraged the peace building process such as Sarajevo and Cambodia. We can see there are high potential for the success of tourism and peace in many other regions of the world. The efforts to start with such projects in former war-zones are very important and once a common understanding has been achieved, the roads are clear for bigger projects. May peace will prevail in the former conflict zones.

Note:
A travel portal with comprehensive information about Jaffna,which was a former war zone @ http://visit-jaffna.blogspot.com/

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