Study finds sustainable tourism a boon for peace


AN open and sustainable tourism sector can boost the level of peace in a country, according to a study by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) in collaboration with the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP).

The Tourism as a Driver for Peace report shows a positive correlation between tourism sectors that showed sustainability in socio-cultural, economic, political, and environmental domains, and “positive peace”, a measure based on the attitudes, institutions, and structures that create and sustain peaceful societies.

Such conditions in the tourism sector can have far-reaching impact, with improvements in the functioning of governments as a probable outcome. And as governments respond to tourism demand and create a welcoming environment for further tourism expansion, this in turn increases future peace levels, the report stated.

Another finding was that countries not afflicted by conflict tended to have tourism performance more resilient to unrest.

This can be seen from a 6.6 per cent decrease in the Global Peace Index for conflict-affected countries corresponding to a 14.8 per cent decline in the Tourism Index between 2008 and 2015.

On the other hand, the 1.4 per cent decline in Global Peace Index for countries not affected by conflict was compared alongside a 12.8 per cent improvement in Tourism Index in the same time period.

The report instantiated this trend with the situation in Oman, where tourism has flourished despite high levels of militarisation, and Ukraine, where tourism’s contribution to GDP increased from 2.65 per cent to 4.95 per cent between 2014 and 2015 despite continuing war with Russia in the northeast.

Another highlight of the study was on the effects of terrorist attacks on the country’s tourism sector. While countries where terrorist attacks have targeted tourists have seen dramatic impact on their tourism sector, the effect does not last long, according to the report.

“The data shows how tourism and peace can support each other and increase societal resilience, prosperity, and peace in the long term,” said Steve Killelea, founder & executive chairman at IEP.

“This also shows how the tourism sector is one of the key areas in which the private sector can play a positive and tangible role in contributing to global peace.”

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