INTERVIEW Portugal is a country that experienced a spike in tourism last year, up 15 per cent
IIPT launched two flagship projects for its 30th anniversary. With the Global Peace Parks Project - originally an initiative to celebrate Canada’s 125th birthday, in 1992 - the organisation has a goal of 2,000 peace parks being dedicated or re-dedicated by late 2018. IIPT has a Peace Parks Tool Kit, which it will share with any organisation willing to create a peace park. IIPT is also keen to engage with airlines, travel agents, tour operators and other organisations around the world in its Travel for Peace Campaign, promoting the belief that every traveller is potentially an ambassador for peace and that we are all part of the same global family. A third initiative was the IIPT Peace Tour to Jordan, which happened in November 2017. It included an opportunity to interact with Syrian refugee children while providing games, handicrafts and other gifts at the school. HRH Princess Dana Firas was patron of the IIPT Travel for Peace Tour and President of the Board of the Petra
PHOTO: CARLOS DUARTE
Helping to promote peace
nations; protect the envir onment and preserve biodiversity; enhance cultures and value heritage; sustainable development; poverty reduction and healing wounds of conflict. Since the inaugural conference, the IIPT has organised 18 conferences and summits, as well as many seminars and workshops, and developed the first code of ethics and guidelines for sustainable tourism. This year is the 30th anniversary and the global summit will be held in Montreal, with sustainable tourism for development and peace at the top of the agenda.
How peace boosts tourism According to the WTO, Spain, Portugal and Croatia (itself once a victim of war) all experienced large spikes in interest last year, up 13.9 per cent, 15 per cent and 17 per cent, respectively. Germany, the Netherlands and Malta also saw tourism increase. Iran, which boasts beautiful beaches, skiing, impressive Islamic architecture and 19 UNESCO sites, saw incoming tourism wither away during
the war with Iraq in the 1980s, followed by political isolation over its nuclear programme. However, following a deal over its nuclear programme in 2015 and efforts by the current government to boost tourism, the country is now considered safe, cheap and edgy, so visitors are returning. It welcomed more than 5 million tourists in 2014, and the upward trend is projected to continue, with Tehran now being seen as a must-do destination.
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“IIPT was formed firstly with a vision to make travel and tourism the world’s first formal peace industry,” says D’Amore. “Every traveller is potentially an ambassador for peace. When you travel, you realise we have more in common than we have differences.” Indeed, at the end of the Cold War Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev encouraged travel between the two countries to encourage Americans and Russians to better understand each other.
Broadening segments The tourism industry is expanding all the time. When D’Amore first started assessing the industry in the 1970s, there was simply mass tourism. Now there are many different segments. Ecotourism became popular in the late 1980s, followed by adventure tourism, cultural tourism and volunteer tourism. Then came agrotourism, wine tourism, culinary tourism, medical tourism and, recently, wellness tourism. D’Amore predicts that the moon will soon be the ultimate destination – and SpaceX plans the first tourist journey around the moon for 2018/9. Tourism is one of the world’s largest and fastest growing industries and accounts, directly and indirectly, for one ©cybertrek 2018
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