Peace in the time of tourism

Ban Ki-moon, Former Secretary General, United Nations, stresses on the significance of the tourism industry as not only a leading economic sector but also a vehicle in fostering multicultural understanding.

Devika Jeet from Korea

During the PATA Annual Summit 2018 held in Gangneung, Republic of Korea, the former Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon delivered a special keynote address on the importance of cooperation and collaboration in tackling the world’s most pressing issues and the significance of the tourism. Here are
some excerpts-

Champion of tourism

During my time as Secretary General of United Nations, I took pride in myself for being a committed champion of travel and tourism, and recognised the critical role it plays for global unity, cultural exchanges and opportunity. The tourism sector serves as an important vehicle for cultural and mutual understanding, peace, reconciliation and tolerance and mutual respect. These are all extremely relevant today as we see the alarming rise in racism worldwide. But importantly, more than 1 billion people are travelling abroad each year and tourism has become a powerful economic sector with yielding great potential to contribute to international development and sustainable advancement of economies, societies, cultures and the environment.

Challenging yet changing times

Over the past decade, the world has faced many serious challenges including the worst financial collapse since the great depression of 1929, eruption of conflict and apprising for freedom and
disruptions brought by diseases and disasters. Even today, many of you might see our uncertain future brought about by extreme nationalism, isolated governments, social unrest and rising inequality.

“More than 1 billion people are travelling abroad each year and tourism has become a powerful economic sector to contribute to international development”

Most importantly, technology has helped bring us closer together. It has offered unparalleled access to the world’s information, enabled us to share information and knowledge easily and provided free or inexpensive communication, thereby allowing for greater collaborations across vast distances.

Peace and prosperity

Travel and tourism can play a great role in providing an opportunity for prosperity and peace around the world. As one of the world’s leading employment sectors, tourism provides important livelihood opportunities helping to eliminate poverty and drive inclusive development. As tourism revolves around encounters between different people, the sector can also foster multicultural understanding and raise awareness on preserving cultural and natural heritage. Tourism must be recognised for its unparalleled ability to promote local cultures, products and conservation.

I am hopeful for the future as I see a diverse group of people come together to maximise the immense potential of tourism, drive inclusive economic growth, protect the environment and promote
sustainable development.

Genuine Power

Tourism is not just for sightseeing but also about the people and appreciating different cultures, history and issues beyond politics. I saw the great benefits of being open to new ideas, people and cultures and the power of extending open arms and building bridges. When we are together in unison, the opportunities in front of us are simply endless. Tourism has a dynamic power that can help people change for the better and bring about a positive impact. It is important that we make a tangible difference and spread positive change through tourism.

Guiding principles for sustainable development of travel & tourism

  • Set priorities and stay focused on advancing sustainable development
  •  Never give up, keep dreaming, keep living and keep working hard until you achieve progress
  •  Keep the focus on people and their rights; think about those who cannot defend themselves
  • Stand up for those who are left behind. Please raise your voices for the dignity of those who cannot

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