NEW YORK -- When
former U.S. Marine captain and business analyst Louis DAmore
founded the International Institute for Peace through Tourism
(IIPT) in 1986, the question he most often received was, What does
peace have to do with tourism?
Now, he is
getting the same question about the relationship between tourism
and terrorism. His answer is much the same.
bombings in London and Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt, this summer, the
IIPT shifted the focus of its upcoming Third Global Summit on Peace
through Tourism in Pattaya, Thailand, Oct. 2 to 5, to become more
of a debate on the tourism industrys strategic response to
added a major session on the experiences of destinations that have
successfully recovered from terrorist attacks and the strategies
The session will
be moderated by H.E. Akel Biltaji, special advisor to King Abdullah
II of Jordan.
The IIPT intends
to produce a tangible result by the end of the conference, a paper
titled A 21st Century Agenda for Peace Through Tourism that
addresses key issues of the time.
To DAmore the
shift is natural.
When the IIPT was
formed in 1986, it was in response to the global issues of the
time, DAmore said, the growing tensions between East and West, the
deteriorating environment, the growing gap between the have and
have-not regions of the world and the growth of
As a consultant,
DAmore had been tracking the effect of terrorism on tourism, but
rather than looking at the effect of these global issues on
tourism, I wanted to see how we could flip it around and see how
tourism can become a positive force.
In answer to the
question, DAmore quoted Bill Clinton: In the most modern of ages,
the biggest problem is the oldest problem of human society, the
fear of the other and how quickly fear leads to distrust, to
hatred, to dehumanization and to death.
The key, DAmore
said, is coming to know the other.
Since the 1980s,
problems have only gotten worse, DAmore said, but tourism has made
tangible contributions to the understanding between different
countries and peoples.
summits and conferences held by the IIPT have become forums for
networking, planning and dialogue among senior executives from all
sectors of the travel and tourism industry, U.N. agencies, donor
agencies, nongovernmental organizations , leading educators, policy
analysts, researchers and entrepreneurs.
In spite of its
aspirations, the mood of the IIPT conferences is distinctly
Tourism is more
than simply a revenue generator for private enterprise, DAmore
said. It is only recently that governments have come to recognize
that tourism contributes to GNP, foreign exchange earnings, job
creation and investment.
The World Travel
and Tourism Council has been gathering information on this, and
organizations like the World Bank are finally realizing how
important tourism is to developing countries as a vehicle of
The agenda will
include sessions about tourisms contribution to poverty reduction,
indigenous tourism, volunteer and philanthropic tourism,
destination crisis management and preparedness, sustainable
destination management, the role of media and linkage of tourism,
culture, heritage and the arts.
reporter David Cogswell, send e-mail to [email protected].