1250 GMT December 14, 2018
Peace (صلح) in Old Persian means 'Reconciliation', however it is understood as a world-ideal. In recent decades, the philosophy of peace has transformed into a dream, deprived of realization by avarices from world superpowers. One of the best strategies to realize this dream is to pay attention to tourism, today regarded as an important social and economic phenomenon. In fact, tourists are seeking friendly relationship by traveling and getting to know different cultures, traditions, rituals and customs of other countries.
The 9/11 terrorist attack and explosion at Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena in 2017 are indicative of a brittle global community. A world that, despite the technological advancements, still needs to reinforce international relationships through revival of human community interactions. One of the most important ways to revive the human community interactions is to develop tourism and intra-cultural integration.
Mounir Bouchenaki, the ex-director general of ICCROM in his speech at the Global Assembly of Cultures in 2004 underlined the impressive role of tourism in creating spaces for clarification of cultures and obviously declared that the result of such development is a type of intra-cultural dialogue, which will lead to peace and pave the way for stable developments.
Nowadays, cultural diplomacy is an effective parameter in diplomatic relationships. Gifford D. Malone, famous writer of diplomacy and foreign politics in the US, refers to it as the architecture of a two-way highway in order to introduce a real picture of a nation's values as well as to capture a real picture of other nations and their values.
Tourism as an effective component in international relationships and cultural diplomacy is among the most important factors of creating peace in countries worldwide. Thus, in 1980, the UN World Tourism Organization declared September 27 as global day of tourism. The statute of this global day was established on September 27, 1970.
Then, in 1986, the International Institute for Peace through Tourism (IIPT) was founded upon these views in order to introduce the tourism industry as the first global peace industry.
Actually, tourism can lead to the bigger goal of peace by creating mutual understanding, introducing cultures and life-styles, and approximating human beings. The history of tourism studies as a means for distributing peace dates back to 1975, when the Conference on Security and Cooperation was held in Helsinki, Finland.
The UN declared September 21 as the Global Peace Day. This date was chosen at the 57th session of the UN General Assembly. Previously (according to Statement 3667, November 30, 1970) the third Tuesday of September, the opening day of usual sessions of the General Assembly, was chosen as the Global Peace Day.
Now, what is the role of Iran in tourism as an important social and economic phenomenon?
In 2017, more than 1.3 billion people traveled throughout the world, the income of which can reach $1.23 trillion. According to the director general of tourism evaluation of Iran, given the security stability of Iran in the Middle East, the share of this country March 21-August 22, 2018 is 3,140,003 tourists, which experienced a significant growth compared to the figure for the same period last year. Most of these tourists came from neighboring countries.
Statistics indicate that more than three million people have come to Iran and such travels can lead to cultural intimacy and friendly relationships. Now, by strategic planning in tourism department and facilitating the entry of foreign tourists, in addition to the financial benefits, Iran can reinforce tourism as factor of stability and peace in the Middle East.
Tourism and peace are two wings for a common goal and wish, regarded as the stability factor in many developed countries throughout the world.
* Seyed Amin Saneey is public relations and international affairs manager of the Revival Fund for Cultural and Historic Sites.