HOTELS & TOURISM OF
Speech by: The Minister for Hotels and Tourism of Angola
His Excellency: Eduardo Jonatao Samuel Chingunji
3RD GLOBAL SUMMIT ON PEACE THROUGH TOURISM
HEALING THE WOUNDS OF CONFLICT
THROUGH TOURISM, CULTURE AND SPORT
Your Execellency Mr Suwat Liptapanlop, Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand
Your Excellency Akel Biltaji, Special Adviser to His Majesty King Abdullah II
Distinguished members of various governments, members of Parliament and International Institutions
Ladies and Gentlemen
HEALING THE WOUNDS OF CONFLICT THROUGH TOURISM,
CULTURE AND SPORT
In the first place I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to the Leaders of the IIPT, for their invitation so that I could be here with you today in this wonderful country - Thailand. It is indeed a privilege to be on this podium for the second time in less than a year to speak about “The healing of the wounds of conflict through Tourism, Culture and Sport” It is a momentous opportunity to share before such distinguished guests some considerations on this important matter; that Tourism as a tool is one of the most import vehicles that has the ability to bring the healing of wounds of conflict into reality. This coming against the background of continuous attacks still being waged against the Tourism industry by terrorists around the world. I therefore, would like to take this opportunity to convey the condolences from our President of the Republic of Angola Mr. José Eduardo dos Santos on behalf of the Angolan people to the Indonesian government, its people and in particular the victims of the Bali terrorist bombings. These attacks show why it is important for the Tourism sector to continue to devise initiatives that can contribute to the bringing of peace through its ability to bring peoples and world cultures together. It is therefore, important that despite the attacks, tourists and the tourist stake holders continue to visit the affected areas in order to show our solidarity and at the same time show our resolve to continue promoting the positive activities and impact this industry has for the economy and social development of society.
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:
Tourism today has been recognized by the World Tourism Organization in its capacity as Specialized Agency of the United Nations as a crucial sector for the development of the world economy because of its enormous potential to generate economic, environmental and social benefits. The effective contribution of tourism to the achievement of several Millennium Development Goals, was recognized by the WSSD in Johannesburg, the Brussels Programme of Action, especially those relating to poverty alleviation, environmental conservation and creation of employment opportunities for women, indigenous communities and young people.
According to the World Tourism Organization (WTO), international tourism had a growth in the order of l0%, the tourists arrivals crossed the expectations, surpassing 70 million tourists, contributing to this sector approximately 5% of GDP of the global economy, and employing about 10% of the economically active population. Since tourism has a positive impact to the economies and it peoples, it depends therefore heavily on the behavior and attitudes of people. The relationship of tourists and their hosts can only be satisfactory if there is mutual understanding in the spoken languages, culture and traditions. Generally, it is the tourist host that has the duty to create basic conditions for the visitors. There is a correlation between tourists and the receiving nation as regard to its success or failure. The meeting of the basic conditions for the development of tourism leads to the growth of the various economy sectors closely associated to it; such as; culture and arts, information technology, media, roads development, financial services, music, fashion etc, etc. Today tourism has also contributed positively to the Globalization ideals in bringing the peoples much closer. And despite many obstacles over many years like the outbreaks of disease (SARS, Ebola), natural disasters (Tsunami) and terrorist attacks in America, Africa, Asia and Europe, tourism has shown its resilience and ability to recover from all these adversities.
My mentioning of the above statistics was simply to demonstrate the potential of tourism in the creation of jobs and social development.
CONDITIONS CONDUCIVE TO THE SUCCESS OF TOURISM PEACE & STABILITY: Peace and stability is probably the pillar for the launching of tourism activities. It is indispensable to objectively look at the war and its causes in or order to find the path to its resolution.
HUMAN HOSPITALITY: Since tourism is
essentially a human to human contact activity, the warm and welcome of the
hosts has a huge influence in the attracting of visitors.
INFRASTRUCTURE: Without the putting in place the structures to accommodate and facilitate the flow of tourists, its growth is severely limited resulting in negative or minimum impact in economic and social welfare of beneficiary communities.
HEALTH SERVICES & HYGIENE: Although at times overlooked by certain countries, for some people this comes at the top of the worries to tourist destinations as life is the fundamental human right and component to the industry. Visiting a distant or foreign destination and returning terminally ill or dead is the worst nightmare of a tourist.
PEACE AS AN ANGOLAN CASE STUDY
Angola lived with civil war for 30 years. With have been at PEACE over 3 years now and realistically this is the time that we can talk about the developing of the tourism industry. We are a huge country blessed with huge tourism resources. A coast of 1600 km of natural beautiful beaches, nature reserves and games parks, rivers and waterfalls, natural water springs, splendid landscapes, over 200 bird species, huge river and sea fishing sports locations, diverse culture and potential in eco-tourism. We are known for the rare Black Impala the Giant Sable which is also a national symbol. We were known for our Elephants. They fled the war to neighboring countries and now have been trying to venture back, except that they have realized that their path from Botswana to Angola is heavily mined. In sports we are a soccer (or footballing) nation with the possibility of going to the World cup next year. We also are and have been Basketball champions for many years. We are African handball champions and are going to the respective World cups. This, for a nation that has had war for such a long time.
The Angolan war divided its people and left
huge scars between brothers and sisters. A war that was hijacked by
international influence where the West and the Soviet Union became embroiled in
one of the most devastating and brutal war ever to have taken place on earth.
The war produced a generation that has known nothing but death and destruction.
It looked like the war in Angola was eternal. A curse we were to live with
throughout the history of our nation. Numerous Peace accords were signed and
broken with no end in sight.
The magical solution?
The war in Angola was ended by a simple solution: -- the realization that only the Angolans through the recognition of the destruction and suffering that the war was causing could bring the solution on the table. President José Eduardo dos Santos despite having defeated the UNITA opposition on the battlefield with the death of its leader Jonas Savimbi, decided to seat around the table with the remaining leaders of the rebels and signed a peace accord. The Angolans therefore, by themselves achieved to end the war which the mediation of world superpowers and the UN had failed several times.
For visitors coming to Angola after the end of the war, many find it hard to believe we are a people who fought each other for such a long time; because our people are some of the wannest you can come across here on earth. Former soldiers and Generals who fought brutally against each other from different trenches, today can be found working together in business and social activities and especially tourism related such as going out to the beaches, picnicking and traveling to various domestic and international destinations.
The victims of war unfortunately are not always just those supporters and leaders of the warring factions against the common enemy but also the innocent population and at times internal persecution within the individual warring faction. Myself I am an example of despite being a powerful member of UNITA that fought the government, my entire family was wiped out by its leader and today I find myself living and sharing political platforms with the same murderers that eliminated my family. It is therefore crucial that we have political leaders who in the name of national stability can lead the public in forgiveness and enhancing the healing of the deep wounds left by war. This is why Angola today is another shinning example reconciliation of one nation’s people after a terrible conflict.
War divides, separates people by creating a wall between communities and organizations and tourism being a medium that promotes contacts between people through traveling, has the power of bringing quicker understanding that break stereotypes and myths created by political, cultural or religious propaganda. The opening up of internal routes in Angola to facilitate contacts or travel between provinces has been one of the major catalysts in the consolidation of peace.
CULTURE & SPORTS
Over many centuries the misunderstanding of cultures has led to many gruesome wars. Myths were created that formed a basis for killings and persecutions. The promotion of culture exchange whether internal or external contributes hugely to the demystification of stereotypes and the break down of the walls of ignorance created in the past. At times cultures have been found to be closer than previously assumed. In fact, even the diversity of cultures has come to be a positive factor in bringing people together as it has been looked at as an enrichment of values other than the dilution of civilization as it was considered in the past. It is through travel or tourism has this become a positive development.
Last year the World Tourism Day was dedicated to Sports. There is no doubt that there is a correlation between Sports and Tourism and therefore complimentary in their respective effects. They are both a stimulant of economical activity through the investment in infrastructure projects like; airports, roads, stadiums, sports complexes, hotels and restaurants to cater for hosts and visitors alike. This creates employment and revenues to national coffers and transports millions of people to different sports events throughout the world such as; the Olympics, Soccer world cup, Athletics championships, rugby, cricket, tennis etc, etc. These are events that naturally promote the understanding between different peoples through the interaction during the events. For Africa the 2010 Soccer World Cup will be another opportunity to bring understanding between the various people of different races and continents and at the same time break the stereotype of negative images of death, disease and suffering promoted mostly by powerful international media organizations.
No single sector in the world has the ability to bring in contact different peoples, races and cultures to promote understanding, as does the tourism sector.
In short, for tourism to continue to play a key role in the promotion of peace and the healing of the wounds of war, there must be a total commitment by all the stakeholders in implementing coordinated initiatives. This must come from the UN and its agencies or International community, central and local government, NGOs, Public and Private sectors and leaders with the status to influence public opinion.
No single sector in the world has the power and ability to bring in contact different peoples, races and cultures to promote understanding, as does the tourism sector.
In conclusion, I would urge the IIPT to look at the greatest
threat to the Tourism industry -
Terrorism. By fining ways far from those of politicians in helping
resolve this issue that is causing so much suffering and destruction of
thousands of innocent civilian and tourists lives in order to contribute to the
bringing of peace and stability to the world.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Thank you very much for your attention.