Occasional Papers

Additional Papers

Past Conferences Presentations

Education Forum Proceedings

Copyright © 1999-2006
logotext.gif (3091 bytes)
Home About Us Conferences Get Involved Initiatives eNewsletter Resources

Student Scholarship Winning Essay

IIPT is committed to having youth involvement in its conference programs, and offers an essay contest with a scholarship award prior to a conference.  The essay winner of the 3rd Global Summit on Peace through Tourism was Clara Tang.  Please read further for the author's bio, essay summary and complete essay text.

Clara Tang – Personal Biography

Born and raised in Singapore, Clara Xiangru Tang is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Travel Industry Management with Honors at the School of Travel Industry Management, University of Hawai`i at Mānoa. During her two years of undergraduate studies, Clara has consistently earned a spot on the Dean’s List and received the Outstanding Senior in Tourism award in 2005. Aside from academic achievements, Clara is currently serving as the Chair of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Hawai`i School of Travel Industry Management Satellite Chapter and interning with the Market Trends Department at the Hawai`i Visitors and Convention Bureau.

 Essay Summary

Peace and tourism has shared a close relationship since early history, yet, the relationship has often been narrowly defined in several studies. This essay thus examines the relationship between peace and tourism in a holistic approach through a tourism developmental model.

The model describes how tourism can be developed in successive stages to bring about peace at three levels: government-government, government-community, and community-community. Peace is also achieved through managing the impacts of tourism development on the relations among various stakeholders during each developmental stage. The four proposed types of relations are (1) acquaintance, (2) adaptability, (3) animosity, and (4) affinity.

While tourism may be only one of the many vehicles for driving peace, this world’s largest industry is definitely a significant step in bridging people together and creating universal peace. After all, peace and stability are the building blocks of travel.

Building A Culture of Peace Through Tourism

Presented to
Professor Kaye Chon
Education Forum Chairperson
3rd Global Submit on Peace Through Tourism

Prepared by
Clara Xiangru Tang
School of Travel Industry Management
University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
June 30, 2005


The humble beginnings of peace and tourism can be traced back to early history when envoys were often sent to negotiate peace treaties, develop trade, or spread religious beliefs in other parts of the world. However, it was probably until 1986 when the International Institute of Peace through Tourism (IIPT) was established that the relationship between peace and tourism gained formal recognition globally. Founded in the United Nations International Year of Peace, the goal of IIPT was to leverage on the tourism industry to bring peace to a world plagued by terrorist activities, political strains, environmental degrading, and economic disparities (International Institute of Peace through Tourism). Thereafter, numerous peace and tourism movements, including the Global Peace Parks Project, Global Summit on Peace through Tourism, and IIPT regional and global conferences, have been organized at national, regional, and international levels, demonstrating the travel industry’s commitment to building a culture of peace universally (International Institute of Peace through Tourism).

Today, the close relationship between peace and tourism is reinforced again due to the series of political, socio-cultural, economic, and environmental instabilities in the last four years. As the travel industry gradually recovers from the 9-11 attack on America in 2001, Bali bombing in 2002, SARS outbreak in 2003, Asia tsunami disaster in 2004, and the ongoing Iraq war, the world has also come to appreciate the importance of peace and tourism in our lives.

However, considering the multitudinous efforts at fostering peace through tourism, studies that have previously attempted to explain the relationship between peace and tourism only in terms of politics, crime, or cultural exchanges may then be too narrow or even unjust to the travel industry.

As such, this essay proposes a model in which tourism can be developed in successive stages to bring about peace at three levels: government-government, government-community, and community-community.


Regardless of the type of tourism development, every development entails some sort of direct or indirect interaction among the various stakeholders such as the resident, visitor, tourism supplier, government, and non-government organization (NGO). Hence, in order to build peace through tourism, it is essential to understand and manage the impacts of tourism developments on relations among these stakeholders. Based on the different stages of tourism development, I have used the following model (Refer to Figure I) to classify four possible kinds of relationship among stakeholders. They are (1) acquaintance, (2) adaptability, (3) animosity, and (4) affinity.

Throughout the model, I will also be adopting a multi-level approach in illustrating how tourism effectively builds a culture of peace through three levels of interactions among stakeholders. The three levels are government-government, government-community, and community-community. Government-government encompasses interactions between government and government and government and NGO. Government-community, on the other hand, is defined as relations among the resident, government, and tourism supplier. Finally, community-community refers to interactions between the resident and visitor, resident and resident, and visitor and visitor.


The seeds of peace are sowed here, as the start of tourism developments marks the initial contact between the host and guest. During this stage, few but significant changes take place at the three levels of interactions.

Firstly, tourism begins at a governmental level because government regulations and policies are required to facilitate travel. To illustrate: Family travel between Lahore and Delhi and between the two sides of the Kashmir area is now possible with the introduction of bus services on these routes (Koumelis). Not only has tourism improved family relations, but also paved way for thawing relations between the two countries. Indeed, tourism often creates a platform for governments to work together towards bilateral agreements such as air rights and visa rules. Established in 1994, the Singapore-Vietnam Tourism Agreement, for example, has served as an excellent platform for the two countries to co-operate in manpower training and tourism development (Ministry of Trade and Industry). Tourism may even act as a preliminary communication channel between politically divided countries. According to Yu and Chung, North and South Korea and China and Taiwan have used tourism to obtain "political leverage and conciliation at low politics level (544)." Low politics refer to the level of political interaction between countries that is characterized by "issues of lesser importance related to lower levels of authority (Spero)." In addition, Yu and Chung also point out that tourism may deepen mutual understanding between two countries by facilitating economic flow between them and improve their economic relations (538).

Secondly, fiscal gains instill peace at a government-community level by spreading wealth within the community. This is because profits from tourism can be re-injected into the local economy to maximize the socio-economic benefits for residents. According to a study conducted in Hawaii in the early 1980s, most respondents agreed that tourism brought about an array of economic benefits ranging from employment and investments to local entrepreneurship (Liu and Var 201). Indeed, tourism partnerships between government and foreign investors can stimulate economic growth in developing nations that may lack sufficient capital at the beginning.

Thirdly, while familiarity may be at minimum during this preliminary developmental phase, intimate host-guest interactions allow both parties to experience each other’s culture and break cultural barriers that may have existed due to prior lack of understanding. These personal interactions may even form the basis for easing relations between politically divided countries.


In order to adapt to growing demand, appropriate tourism developments occur more rapidly during the second stage while continuing to contribute to peace at the three levels of interactions.

At the governmental level, countries extend beyond bilateral agreements, and enter into multilateral agreements. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), for instance, is actively involved in spearheading multilateral collaboration among its members to boost trade and tourism in Southeast Asia through tourism projects such as "Recovery of the Tourism Sector" in 1999 and "ASEAN-China Seminar-Workshop on Cultural Resource Management for Tourism" in 2001 (ASEAN). Moreover, countries may also participate in the global network through joining regional and world tourism organizations as well as implementing international policies. China, for example, became a member of the World Tourism Organization in 1983, signifying its determination to ride on tourism for economic growth after it opened up in 1978 (Yves). On the other hand, the UNESCO World Heritage program seeks to establish peace with our cultural and natural heritage by identifying global sites for conservation. As of July 2004, the World Heritage Center listed 788 cultural, natural, and mixed properties in over 120 States Parties (UNESCO World Heritage Center). Because the natural and cultural beauty of these sites have drawn countless people from all over the world, many people have blamed tourism for destroying them. On the contrary, I contend that with careful protective measures, tourism can actually be a steady source of revenue for sustaining these invaluable treasures for our present and future generations. The Great Barrier Reef in Australia, for instance, is divided into different zones to manage the impact of tourism through policing the type of activities that visitors can engage in (Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority). As a result, visitors can enjoy the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef and respect the environment at the same time. In fact, as the chief commercial activity in the Great Barrier Reef region, tourism provides the local economy with more than A$4.23 billion worth of revenue annually (Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority).

Because natural, heritage, and cultural attractions are often mega pull for visitors, most destinations embark on heavy marketing of their attractions during the second stage of development. These attractions usually undergo modifications in response to tourist demand, causing critics to hold tourism responsible for breaking down a place identity. In contrast, tourism may serve as the bridge between the government and community to social peace by assisting the constant construction of place identity, which is "built according to a broader set of political, economic, and cultural processes rather than in relative isolation from those processes (Oakes 36)." China, for instance, has been confronted with the contradiction of pursuing modernity whilst keeping strong ties with a traditional past (41). Tourism has thus played a key role in "directing China’s gaze toward minority culture as an exotic and primitive source of vitality for modern China as it faces the cool onrush of global capitalism and the McWorld (42)." In Zhaoxing, for example, tourism has secured the village’s position as the place for authentic Dong tradition. Aligned with the objective of maintaining the authenticity and sense of place in Zhaoxing, state funds were allocated to help reinstate its traditional look through restoration projects such as renovating several Western buildings in the village’s traditional architectural style (64). Besides recovering the physical aspects of the Dong culture and constructing a sense of place for Zhaoxing, tourism has enabled the indigenous people to regain their confidence through the official recognition of the state and tourism industry. Tourism has aided the village to "embrace modernity without losing [its] traditions…ensure that Zhaoxing remain authentically Dong (65)."

Finally, at a personal level within the community, familiarity and understanding grow quickly with more frequent interactions between the host and guest. Some, however, may doubt the genuineness of cultural understanding that occur between a visitor and resident. According to MacCannell (593), tourists, akin to pilgrims, are constantly looking for authentic experiences. Yet, the tourist’s search for authenticity is futile because tourist settings are often "staged" to satisfy this desire. Tourism is consequently alleged for creating stereotypes and social conflicts by mystifying the "Others." Then again, what exactly constitutes "authenticity?" Is "authenticity" simply "the quality of being genuine or true (Oxford 64)" that comes with the connotation of "timelessness?" If culture is defined as "the customs and beliefs, art, way of life, and social organization of a particular country or group (Oxford 284)," is not it inevitable for culture to evolve over time to suit the changing needs of a group? Other than recognizing that cultures are dynamic, Taylor’s notion of sincerity (Taylor 8) is also eminent in seeing how tourism can promote peace through cultural exchanges at a community level. Unlike authenticity, which is usually rooted in the "internal quality of a thing, self or Other (23)," sincerity "occurs in the zone of contact among participating groups or individuals (23)." Sincerity "demands a shift away from objectification, towards negotiation (20)." For this reason, just because an interaction happens in the "front region," it does not necessarily preclude sincerity and genuineness. Using Maori tourism in New Zealand as an example, even though marae visits are "staged" encounters with Maori culture, interactivity and sincerity still underlie them, permitting cross-cultural understanding and "communication of more localized identities (16)." Sincerity therefore ties the cultural experiences of the tourist and host to themselves at the present time rather than emphasizing the connotations of authenticity (23).


Although tourism can be a catalyst for building peace, tourism developments, if left unchecked, may result in socio-political, economic, and environmental clashes.

At a governmental-government level, travel advisories have become a sensitive issue following the increased terrorist activities since 2001. It is understandable that travel advisories are aimed at protecting a nation’s citizens, yet it is even more critical for organizations to issue fair travel advisories. Because of the complexity of travel advisories, the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) has designed the PATA Code for Fair Travel Advisory Issuance to mitigate misunderstandings between nations on travel advisories (PATA).

At a government-community level, resentment towards tourism often occurs when developments fail to honor local traditions and values. To illustrate this: Believed to be the source of mana ("power") and immortality, ancestors’ iwi ("bones") are held in high esteem in the Hawaiian society (Kanahele 45). As proper burial is critical for the iwi of a deceased person to return to the ground to impart his or her mana upon completing his or her journey (State Historic Preservation Division), burial sites are extremely important to Native Hawaiians. Nonetheless, due to the secrecy of burial traditions, escalating developments have endangered unmarked native Hawaiian burial sites that can be found on any part of the island. In 1988, the construction of Ritz Carlton at Kapalua on Maui saw the rallying of Native Hawaiians towards the preservation of native burials after more than 1,100 ancestral native Hawaiian burials were unearthed at the site. The Burial Sites Program was subsequently introduced to oversee the care, management, protection, and inventory of unmarked burial sites throughout the State of Hawaii (State Historic Preservation Division). This case shows while governments may welcome tourism developments, it is vital that both public policy makers and private developers incorporate local values and traditions in their planning to prevent animosity from the residents.

Lastly, irresponsible tourism developments may create conflicts at the community level. According to Biddlecomb (38), tourism gives rise to demonstration effects that are "… changes in attitudes, values or behavior which can result from merely observing tourists. The effect is most easily and frequently seen in local patterns of consumption which change to imitate those of the tourists." Nevertheless, it is crucial to realize that in the present era of media explosion, demonstration effects are not restricted to tourism. Influences from television, movies, and increasingly, the Internet, have grown to be more significant than ever.


The ultimate vision of tourism is to attain peace through fostering amiable host-guest relationships founded on shared cultural understanding and acceptance and equitable returns. At this stage, the world enjoys political, economic, environmental, and socio-cultural stability.

Because we are living in a global village, "domestic" issues are no longer restricted within the geographical boundaries of a place. Every nation works together towards maintaining world peace. Last year, when the Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami hit Asia, travel almost came to a standstill in the affected destinations. The impacts of sluggish tourism performance, which quickly trickled down the economy, highlighted the value of travel industry and prompted world organizations and governments to cooperate in restoring peace and regaining travel confidence among people. The PATA Foundation, for instance, raised nearly US$250,000 worth of direct and "in-kind" donations to aid the tsunami recovery efforts in the Maldives, Sri Lanka, and Thailand (PATA). Tourism has definitely uncovered the compassion and empathy in mankind.

At a government-community level, policies are executed to advocate ethical business practices in the travel industry. North Carolina is one of the many states that have implemented green initiatives for all its hospitality and lodging properties. Pioneered by the North Carolina Division of Pollution Prevention and Environmental Assistance (DPPEA), the Green Plan for hotels strives to reduce waste, recycle, and conserve energy and water (North Carolina Division of Pollution, Prevention and Environmental Assistance). In addition to environmental peace, other spin-off benefits of tourism in the form of employment for women and youth, cultural revitalization, higher life quality, ethnic harmony, and enhanced local image (Liu 228) will add to the world’s social peace.

At a community-community level, peace is accomplished with both the host and guest being able to embrace cultural diversities while retaining their unique values and traditions. This function of tourism coincides with the UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity which highlights the significance of "cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue" for the development of peace (UNESCO Cultural Sector). As opposed to a common debate about the pros and cons of mass tourist and independent tourist in the travel industry, this final stage of tourism development focuses on responsible travelers. The travelers of tomorrow are envisioned to be educated, culturally sensitive, and ethical. Not only will the personal interactions through tourism broaden the individual traveler’s perspective, but also play a core role in nurturing world peace. This is because with youth tourism composing 17 percent of all international travel in 2000 (World Tourism Organization), the youth traveler is well poised to be one of the expanding market segments in future. Since today’s young travelers will be tomorrow’s leaders in their respective communities, youth tourism is an imperative factor in building global peace by exposing young people to different cultures.

Although the affinity stage is theoretically the final stage, tourism development is a continuous process. Destinations must regularly return to the second stage where adaptations are made to fulfill the vision of building a culture of peace through tourism.


Due to the intricacies of personal and political interactions, tourism is only one of the vehicles for building peace because issues such as religious and political beliefs are also central in shaping relationships. Nevertheless, as international arrivals are forecasted to exceed 1.56 billion by the year 2020 (World Tourism Organization), it is not surprising that the world’s largest industry is looked upon as a central force for advocating peace. After all, based on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, safety needs surpasses all other human needs after physiological needs (Wikipedia). Safety is therefore a major factor in most travel choices. Since peace and stability are not merely innate human desires, but also fundamental blocks of tourism, the travel industry is certainly a significant step in bridging people together and creating universal peace. As Louis D’Amore commented, it is "in the travel industry’s enlightened self interest to work towards the realization of a peaceful and stable socio-political environment in which world travel and tourism can thrive (World Travel and Tourism Council)." To conclude, in the gloom of uncertainty today, I strongly believe that responsible tourism is our guiding light in this voyage to world peace.


(ASEAN) Association of Southeast Asian Nations. 2005. "Tourism." 27 June 2005.

Biddlecomb, Cynthia Z. Pacific Tourism: Contrasts in Values and Experiences.

Suva: Lotu Pasifika Productions, 1981

Dolais, Yves. "Tourism Law in China." Asia Pacific Journal of Tourism Research. July 1998. Hotel.Online. 26 June 2005.

Great Barrier Reef Marine Authority. 2005. Great Barrier Reef Marine Authority home page. 26 June 2005.

International Institute of Peace Through Tourism. 2005. International Institute of Peace Through Tourism home page. 26 June 2005

Kanahele, George Hu`eu Sanford. Kukanaka—Stand Tall: A Search for Hawaiian Values. United States: University of Hawaii Press, 1992.

Koumelis, Theodore. "WTO Underscores Links Between Tourism and Peace in South Asia." Travel Daily 19 Apr. 2005. 26 June 2005.

Liu, Juanita C., and Var, Turgut. "Resident Attitudes Toward Tourism Impacts in Hawaii." Annals of Tourism Research 13 (1986): 193-214.

MacCannell, Dean. "Staged Authenticity: Arrangements of Social Space in Tourist Settings." The American Journal of Sociology Vol. 79, No. 3 (Nov 1973). University of Chicago: 589-603

North Carolina Division of Pollution, Prevention and Environmental Assistance. "The Green Plan for Hotels." 28 July 2004. 26 June 2005.

Oakes, Timothy S. "Ethnic Tourism in Rural Guizhou: Sense of Place and the Commerce of Authenticity." Ed. Michael Picard and Robert E.Wood. Tourism, Ethnicity, and the State in Asian and Pacific Societies. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1997. 35-70.

Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary. Ed. Salley Wehmeier. 6th ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.

(PATA) Pacific Asia Travel Association. 2005. Pacific Asia Travel Association home page. 26 June 2005 

Spero, J.E. The Politics of International Economic Relations. 2nd Ed. New York: St. Matins’s Press, 1981. 12-15.

State Historic Preservation Division. Nā Iwi Kūpuna—The Bones of Our Ancestors. 25 October 2004.

Taylor, John. "Authenticity and Sincerity in Tourism." Annals of Tourism Research 28.1 (2001): 8-23.

UNESCO Cultural Sector. 15 April 2005. "Cultural Diversity." 26 June 2005.

UNESCO World Heritage Center. 26 June 2005. "UNESCO World Heritage List." 26 June 2005.

Wikipedia.2005. "Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs." 18 June 2005.'s_hierarchy_of_needs

World Tourism Organization. 2005. World Tourism Organization home page. 18 June 2005.

World Travel & Tourism Council. 10 Oct. 2002. "Second Global Summit on Peace." 18 June 2005.

Yu, Larry, and Chung, Moo Hyung. "Tourism as a Catalytic Force for Low-Politics Activities between Politically Divided Countries: The Cases of South/North Korea and Taiwan/China." New Political Science 23.4 (2001): 537-544 EBSCOhost Hawaii Voyager University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, HI. 28 Mar. 2005.



International Institute for Peace Through Tourism