Public Diplomacy and Sustainable Tourism for Peace

  • Gholamheidar Ebrahimbay Salami
  • Faculty member of University of Tehran

Peace is achieved in the process of international tourism, and the flow of hospitality and hosting is better and more stable than other methods. In the process of globalization, tourism is the most significant phenomenon of modern society. This coincides with the development of international tourism and travel and the movement of more than one billion and four hundred million foreign tourists in 2019 before the covid-19 epidemic.

Tourism and soft power

Tourism is an indicator of the security and development of societies. Countries that have provided more safety, facilities, and prosperity for tourists have become tourist destinations and more ” soft power. ” Because soft power is based on persuading public opinions and attractiveness, which appears in the acceptance and welcome of other nations.

In international relations, especially in the last three decades, the structural evolution and development of the concept have emerged. Public diplomacy is one of the main factors influencing and penetrating the general opinion of other nations and the relationship between people. The effect of public diplomacy has been more significant than the relationship between governments. The acquisition of “soft power ” for countries has spread through public diplomacy.

Tourism and public diplomacy

Public diplomacy thrives on tools such as cultural diplomacy, economic diplomacy, and diplomacy. Tourism is a super disciplinary phenomenon and has grown in the international arena by combining and using the three dimensions of public diplomacy. Thus, the concept of tourism diplomacy has become one of the practical tools for achieving public diplomacy and gaining the soft power of countries. Tourism diplomacy is based on the process of international hospitality and the duty of the hostess. Tourists and tour groups are directly involved in the tourism destinations and for natural interaction with the local community. With this approach, tourism contributes more than other public diplomacy methods and interaction between host and guest countries.

Tourism and foreign relations

As international tourism can connect people, a group of non-governmental organizations and official procedures is more important in developing communication and external relations.

Tourism is now one of the essential activities in securing the national interests of countries. Tourism issues on the agenda of high-level meetings between the countries and the cultural and economic commissions have become important. Recently, the development of international tourism has been one of the factors for evaluating countries’ foreign policy and assessing the performance of ministries and embassies of each government. Over this assessment by ministries and embassies abroad programs, cultural and educational conferences were held in the destination country.

International tourism development mechanism is more spontaneous and more than policy official cultural and economic aspects, and the interaction of people are affected.

Foreign investment inside

International tourism impacts steadily more than other cultural and media activities on public opinion in other countries. Support the tourism industry and tourist destinations for each country is an indirect foreign investment in the country. This will result in the arrival of tourists from other countries and exports for optimal development and prosperity, entrepreneurship, and employment. That causes the local community’s tourism development and cultural identity to be increasingly recognized, protected and boosted.

For example, instead of exporting oil and raw materials to other countries, Iran invests in developing tourism destinations. People of different nations could come to Iran and bring currency, business development, and recognize Iranian identity.

Tourism and globalization 

Tourism diplomacy is a feature of the “globalization” era. With the development of information and communication technology (ICT) and the evolution of the structure of production and services, this type of diplomacy is increasingly expanding and affecting the public opinion of the world and foreign policy and international relations.

Nowadays, in addition to nations’ communications with each other and complete foreign relations, non-governmental organizations (NGO) and civil society have become vital for tracking specific issues. Also, some problems such as the environment and sustainability, the importance of peace, and newer concepts like sustainable tourism are created. According to the demands and ethical standards of the sustainable development paradigm and emphasizing concepts such as social justice, gender justice, and empowerment of the local community, especially for women, efforts to promote security and peace have become a global demand.

Tourism and Sustainable Development Goals

Outlining the 17 goals of sustainable development in the United Nations development program (UNDP) means the end of theoretical debates and disagreement for the development of countries. These goals for functional and operational progress show that the tourism sector and other objectives on achieving goals number 8, 12, 16, and 17 are concentrated. In other words, the development of the world will be possible with the realization of ” decent work and economic growth, “responsible production and consumption ” and global participation for sustainable production and the completion of peace and justice, and the growth of peaceful groups and societies in a more sustainable and better way. Sustainable tourism contributes to mutual understanding and understanding of nations and communities. Sustainable tourism with the participation of the local community provides the ground for the realization of peace and justice more than before.

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