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A critical perspective on
peace through tourism
Freya Higgins-Desbiolles
School of Management
Tourism’s many positive contributionseconomic, social, cultural, ecological &
Contemporary discourse focuses on
economic & business domains to the
exclusion of tourism’s social values
As early as Thomas Cook in the mid1800s, tourism has been noted as “ a
great & beneficial social force” ( Turner &
Ash, 1976). I am trying to revive this
Louis D’Amore’s Dimensions of
Peace through Tourism
Inspired by the multiple meanings of the Russian
word “mir”- which means the universe, the
Earth, human race, peace, tranquillity, peace
between peoples & states, freedom from war
D’Amore seeks a positive & multidimensional
definition of the concept
Peace as peace within ourselves, peace with
other people, peace between nations, peace
with nature, peace with universe, peace with our
God (D’Amore 1988)
The International Institute For Peace Through Tourism (IIPT)
is a not for profit organization dedicated to
fostering & facilitating tourism initiatives which
contribute to international understanding & cooperation,
an improved quality of environment, the
preservation of heritage, & through these initiatives,
helping to bring about a peaceful & sustainable world.
It is based on a vision of the world's largest industry,
travel & tourism - becoming the world's
first global peace industry; & the belief
that every traveler is potentially an "Ambassador for Peace.
A primary goal of IIPT is to mobilize the travel &
tourism industry as a leading force for poverty reduction.
International Institute for Peace
through Tourism
IIPT global peace parks
Credo of the peaceful traveller
Partnerships with industry on initiatives like the
charity “just a drop”, Pro-poor tourism
IIPT Peace awards
World Peace travel agency
IIPT consultancy wing
Sustainability & pro-poor rhetoric has been diluted as part of a PR
offensive by powerful agencies such as World Travel & Tourism
Council & IIPT seems to be collaborating on this agenda
Examination of the membership of Board of Directors & Advisory
Group suggests it has been subject to corporate capture- it has
representatives of tourism boards, tourism agencies & powerful
The second IIPT African Conference on Peace through Tourism
received scathing comments from invited speaker Navaya ole
Ndaskoi, Coordinator of Indigenous Rights for Survival, who
described the gathering as “a brutal freak show for money” in a
letter rejecting the invitation (Alcantara, 2003). Amongst other
criticisms, Ndaskoi challenged the hypocrisy of promoting a pro-poor
agenda while using a five star venue in Dar es Salaam to hold the
conference (Ndaskoi, 2003).
My understanding
Tourism industry responded to the antiglobalisation movement through concerted
public relations campaign – “liberalisation
with a human face” in which pro-poor
tourism and peace through tourism give
them good publicity to overshadow the
exploitation & degradation of people &
environments that tourism brings- this is
intended to prevent regulation & limits
Justice Tourism
Tourism is inherently a justice issue
(Fennell, 2006: 102) with its differential
impacts on developing and developed
communities. Justice tourism has recently
emerged as a phenomenon worthy of
further analysis.
Justice Tourism Principles
Builds solidarity between visitors and those
Promotes mutual understanding and
relationships based on equality, sharing and
Supports self-sufficiency and self-determination
of local communities; and
Maximises local economic, cultural and social
benefits (Scheyvens 2002).
Example of Justice Tourism
US-Mexico Border : Day of the Dead/Dia de los Muertos
October 31, 2004 - November 03, 2004
Ireland - The North of Ireland : A Lasting Peace - with Justice?
August 01, 2005 - August 15, 2005
Afghanistan : Women Making Change
June 12, 2005 - June 21, 2005
Brazil : World Social Forum 2005- Another World is Possible
January 21, 2005 - February 01, 2005
Palestine/Israel : Fact Finding Delegation
October 17, 2004 - October 28, 2004
Russia - the Former USSR : Russia - A Changing Empire
June 10, 2005 - June 24, 2005
Society for
Ecology &
Reciprocity in
See: http://www.isec.org.uk/ladakh.html#educationandculturalexchange
Evidence from Research
Kelly’s study of Community Aid Abroad’s One
World Tours “study tours” provides insights into
the alternative tourism consumer- but it is CAA’s
Community Leadership Tour which is most
McGehee & Norman’s (2002) study of
Earthwatch argues that these tours provide
social networks, consciousness-raising,
awareness of the concept “the personal is
political” and fosters social solidarity leading to
global citizenship
Justice tourism takes on unfair
Anti-globalisation activists -better called global justice
advocates- have gathered for a series of annual
meetings in order to challenge the structures & dynamics
of unjust globalisation since 2001 under the title the
World Social Forum (WSF)
The 2004 WSF convened in Mumbai, India placed
tourism on the agenda for the first time at a Global
Summit on Tourism. The theme was ‘Who really benefits
from tourism?’ The summit issued a call to ‘democratise
tourism!’. One NGO participant, the Ecumenical Coalition
on Tourism (ECOT) called for a tourism that is ‘propeople’ (ECOT, 2003).
Tourism Interventions Group
Those gathered at WSF 2004 formed the Tourism
Interventions Group (TIG) which declared:
“Democracy, transparency and corporate and governmental
accountability in tourism will be placed high on the
agenda for concerted action and strategic interventions.
We look forward to working in solidarity with local
community representatives, activists and researchers
from various parts of the world to strengthen our
struggle and develop strategies for a tourism that is
equitable, people-centred, sustainable, ecologically
sensible, child-friendly and gender-just”. (TIG, 2004)
The Promise of Tourism
Before the advent of the neoliberal era, tourism
was dedicated to establishing a New
International Economic Order (Asher 1985)
The Manila Declaration of 1980 held that “world
tourism can only flourish if based on equity …
and if its ultimate aim is the improvement of the
quality of life and the creation of better living
conditions for all peoples”
It expected tourism to “help to eliminate the
widening economic gap between developed and
developing countries”
Inayatullah’s tourism checklist:
How does tourism affect
the distribution of
wealth? Does tourism
create conditions where
economic growth is
Does tourism reduce
structural violence
(systemic poverty, illhealth and racism ) or
does it contribute to
further impoverishment
of the periphery?
Does tourism enhance
individual & social peace?
Does tourism create the
possibilities for cultural
pluralism? Can knowledge
of the Other reduce
intolerance, creating the
possibility of a
multicultural peaceful
Does tourism help create
economic democracy?
Is tourism progressive?
Does it use resources
progressively, from
physical to mental to
cultural-spiritual? (1995)
The Ultimate Promise of
Cohen and Kennedy (2000) contend that
“… contributes to the growth of globalism –
a more intense feeling of common
membership of the human collectivity. It
does this by exposing us directly to a
multicultural world where the boundaries
between societies and between insiders
and outsiders are becoming increasingly
Stilwell’s Model: Can we apply this
to tourism?
of life
Justice tourism is about challenging this
system & engaging with alternative visions
of global order that could be more just &
Ecumenical Coalition on Tourism (2003) Concept
paper for World Social Forum. Unpublished
document. Hong Kong: ECOT.
Fennell, D. A. (2006) Tourism Ethics. Clevedon,
UK: Channel View.
Global Exchange (no date) Reality tours. Online
documents at URL
ml> [6 June 2005].
International Society for Ecology and Culture (no
date) The Ladakh project. Online documents at
URL <http://www.isec.org.uk/ladakh.html> [30
June 2005].
McGehee, N. & Norman, W. C. (2002).
Alternative tourism as impetus for
consciousness-raising. Tourism Analysis, 6, 239251.
Oxfam Australia (no date) Community leadership
program. Online documents at URL
<http://www.oxfam.org.au/CLP/index.html> [2
November 2005].
Poon, A. (1993). A global transformation. In A. Poon.
Tourism, technology and competitive strategies (pp. 8592). Wallingford, UK: CAB International.
Scheyvens, R. (2002) Tourism for Development:
Empowering Communities. Harlow, England: PrenticeHall.
Sklair, L. (2002) Globalization, Capitalism and its
Alternatives. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Stilwell, F. (2002). Political economy: The contest of
economic ideas. Melbourne: Oxford University Press.
Tourism Interventions Group (2004) Who really benefits
from tourism? Statement of Concern at the 4th WSF.
Online documents at URL <http://www.ealliance.ch/media/media-4589.doc> [4 April 2005].
This presentation is based on the academic
analysis presented in:
Higgins-Desbiolles, F. (2008) Justice tourism
and alternative globalisation. Journal of
Sustainable Tourism, in press.
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