n 1986, Louis D'Amore, a former Marine who also was decorated with an MBA from Wharton, sat down to write an article about terrorism and its likely impact on the travel industry.

The self-described futurist had left Deloitte & Touche to start his own consulting firm, and the article he and researcher Teresa Anuza ended up writing, "International Terrorism: Implications and Challenge for Global Tourism," was accepted by Business Quarterly, an academic journal of the School of Business Administration at the University of Western Ontario.

The article defined the "new terrorism" as a general declaration of war by Islamic fundamentalists against "what they describe as the decadence and immorality of the West."

Its summation of recommended security measures has an eerily contemporary ring: Increased vigilance, passenger profiling, matching passengers with luggage and screening for explosives are suggested.

There is a chilling warning that "concern remains primarily with suicide attacks, which would be almost impossible to stop. "

"The evidence suggests that we can expect more frequent and bolder action in the future," they wrote.

The article highlights counterterrorism strategies, including one that advocates that "Western society's most effective response to terrorism is swift and decisive military retaliation" that "must be applied to states sponsoring terrorists in addition to the terrorists themselves."

Interestingly, the final recommendations for curbing future terrorism skew significantly from military responses and security procedures.

It was the authors' belief that the terrorism seen in the mid-80s -- the spate of airplane bombings, hijackings and airport attacks -- was an "alert signal" for what was to come.

"The world is [now] more crowded and less stable socially, economically, politically and ecologically," the authors wrote.

"[Current] conditions create the fertile breeding grounds for terrorists. It is no surprise that most terrorists are recruited from refugee camps where young people have no home, no work and no hope. For many young persons in these circumstances, the most promising channel of improved social mobility is the local cell of a terrorist organization."

The best deterrent against terrorism, the article concluded, would be for the developed world to spend a fraction of the funds earmarked for "security" to try to improve the lives of its would-be adversaries.

Not counting on governments to heed the warnings and take action, the same year that the article was published, D'Amore founded the International Institute for Peace Through Tourism (www.iipt.org).

The group is dedicated to fostering and facilitating tourism initiatives that contribute to international understanding and cooperation. He saw the travel industry, the largest in the world, as a means to defuse international tensions.

Today, IIPT's corporate partners include American Express, Six Continents Hotels and B-there.com. Organizations in its membership include the Caribbean Tourism Organization, the European Travel Commission, Skal International and the Society of Incentive Travel Executives. (In the spirit of full disclosure, it should be noted that Travel Weekly is a media sponsor of the organization.)

IIPT seeks to facilitate tourism projects that revitalize local economies; bring together like-minded politicians, academics and travel industry leaders for summits; and support programs that encourage travelers to get involved with local people and their cultures.

D'Amore's prescient article didn't stop the tragedy of Sept. 11. And, despite the existence of IIPT, there likely will be other terrorist incidents involving the travel industry. But there's no doubt in my mind that D'Amore picked the right industry to use as his instrument. Travel is the straightest road to cross-cultural understanding, and cross-cultural understanding is the best hope for lasting peace.

IIPT is holding a Peace Through Tourism Conference March 3 to 7 in Mpumalanga Province, South Africa.


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