3rd GLOBAL SUMMIT ON PEACE THROUGH TOURISM
Mr. Suwat Liptapanlop
Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand
3rd October 2005
Distinguished Guests, Ladies & Gentlemen.
On behalf of the Royal Thai Government and people of Thailand, it is a great pleasure to welcome you to both Thailand and the 3rd Global Summit on Peace through Tourism. For nearly 20 years, the International Institute for Peace through Tourism has been dedicated to the principle that tourism is an important force for peace, with tourists as the best ambassadors for spreading global understanding. The vision and determination of the IIPT has been an inspiration to many people in many countries during this time.
This year marks the 60th anniversaries of two important events: the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the creation of the United Nations. The former is a reminder that in war there are no winners, only losers; while the latter represents the spirit of hope. The vision of unity in diversity, and shared responsibility in managing global issues are key elements in the structure of the United Nations.
Today’s world is very different from that of 1945, but serious
challenges to human security, and social and economic development remain. The
challenge of our time is to enable everyone to live with peace, dignity and
freedom. The travel and tourism industry has a major role to play in meeting
this challenge. It is therefore fitting that the theme of this Summit is ‘One
Earth, One Family: Travel & Tourism Serving a Higher Purpose.’
This Summit is being held to support two United Nations initiatives:
the U.N. Decade for Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World; and the U.N. Millennium Development Goals. Here in Thailand, the government has a strong commitment to the global campaign to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015
There is certainly much to do. In many countries, extreme poverty, hunger, famine, disease and environmental destruction are silent killers. We cannot and must not ignore them. Each day, 50,000 people die from poverty and hunger. More money is spent on arms and weapons than on sustaining human life. This is unacceptable.
In Asia, Latin America and Africa, reduction in poverty must remain at the top of our agenda to bring about human dignity, human rights, and human security. This in turn will reduce injustice, conflict, violence and terrorism. The end of poverty must not be just a dream. We must make it happen, and
tourism can play an important part.
Here in Thailand, the tourist industry is crucial to the country’s economic stability. Thailand’s fame as the ‘Land of Smiles’ stems from the country’s long tradition of hospitality and friendliness. This is in harmony with the spirit of the IIPT and this Summit. The .welcoming spirit of Thai people has won the hearts of tourists around the world and is the basis of our current tourism promotional campaign: ‘Thailand — Happiness on Earth.’ Next year, Bangkok’s new, state-of-the-art Suvarnabhumi International Airport will open. This will not only serve growth in tourism but also sustainable economic development in general.
Thailand has adopted a people-centered development policy which stands alongside democracy and good governance. Continued sustainable development of the tourism industry is central to that policy. Through a foreign policy of “forward engagement”, Thailand is playing a leading role in a number of regional and sub-regional development cooperation frameworks and trade agreements. These aim at closing the economic gap between countries in the ASEAN region. For example, Thailand has been working closely with other developing countries to share our experience and best practices, especially in the areas of agricultural development, public health, and tourism. We are hoping to expand support of social sectors such as health, education, and community development.
Furthermore, Thailand is now increasing its development cooperation with South
Asia and Africa. I am, therefore, very pleased to see that one objective of
this 3 Global Summit is the forging of an Asia—Africa bridge for tourism,
friendship and cooperation. With this goal in mind, the Pacific-Asia Travel
Association and the Africa Travel Association will be signing a
Memorandum of Understanding. It is notable that the membership of these two international organizations consists of governments, the private sector, and members of civil society: I hope that this Memorandum will become a model for the synergy required among these three sectors to meet the challenges of globalization.
Another key issue to be discussed at this 31’(t Global Summit is “A Strategic Tourism Industry Response to International Terrorism.” The threat of terrorism is of great concern to all countries and peoples, from government level down to the ordinary “man in the street.” Sadly, the first five years of this new millennium have shown us that no country, however great or small, is safe from terrorism attacks.
All forms of terrorism, no matter where and why it is committed, must be condemned. At the same time, social and economic development must be recognized as peaceful ways to work against extremism and terrorism. Development helps to prevent marginalization which breeds anger and resentment. . . .the fertile grounds for extremism and terrorism. By achieving the Millennium Development Goals, we can create a peaceful global environment in which there is no place for extremism and terrorism. It is also important that we put a human face on development. This can most readily and fully be achieved through travel; through meeting people face to face in foreign lands; through experiencing their welcome and hospitality. Tourism is not only a pathway to development: it is a pathway to cultural and international understanding; it is therefore a pathway to peace.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
This Summit is being held at a time when there is growing recognition of the role that tourism can play in the stable, peaceful future of mankind. In essence, tourism is a hospitality industry; hospitality gives rise to warmth and friendship; and warmth and friendship are key factors in creating mutual understanding, tolerance and respect. Given the projected expansion of tourism, I believe that tourism can make even greater contributions to the spread of international understanding and peace.
Fully supporting the aims and goals of this Summit, the Royal Thai Government wishes all delegates every success during the coming days of discussion and debate as you work towards developing a 215t Century Agenda for Peace through Tourism’ that addresses key global issues of our time. In order to achieve this ambitious goal, the travel and tourism industry will require a new form of leadership: leadership able to accept the challenges of the 21st century; leadership that puts shared responsibility before narrow interests; leadership that recognizes the need to think and act beyond national boundaries in a spirit of partnership, trust, and mutual respect. Only this form of leadership can truly recognize that we are indeed ‘One Earth, One Family.’
Thank you for your kind attention.