With terror and security scares against tourists filling many headlines in the past few months, today the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) is pleased to launch a new research report quantifying for the first time the links between tourism and peace.
While Travel & Tourism has often been recognised for its ability to drive peace, security, and understanding, to date, there has been little empirical evidence to support this link.
The report, Tourism as a Driver for Peace, conducted with the Institute of Economics and Peace (IEP), the world’s pre-eminent think tank measuring peace, shows how important an open and sustainable tourism sector can be for the levels of peace in a country.
Countries with more open and sustainable tourism sectors* have higher levels of peace and lower levels of conflict and violence. Increases in tourism sustainability can lead to improvements in the functioning of governments. As governments respond to tourism demand and create a welcoming environment for further tourism expansion, this ultimately increases future peace, the report states.
Over the last decade the world has become increasingly unequal in terms of its levels of peacefulness, with the most peaceful countries enjoying increasing levels of peace and prosperity, while the least peaceful countries are facing greater levels of violence and conflict.
This research shows that the more sustainable and open a country’s tourism sector, the less peace levels have declined. Even in conflict affected countries, all of which saw their levels of peace drop in the period between 2008 and 2015, those that had more open and sustainable tourism saw a significantly lower drop in peace than countries with less sustainable tourism sectors.
David Scowsill, President and CEO of WTTC, said: “Travel & Tourism’s economic impact is now well established and widely recognised, and governments around the world are increasingly looking to the sector to provide livelihoods and jobs, and drive economic development. However, the benefits of tourism as a force for good, its ability to bring peace, security, and understanding have been harder to quantify. I am delighted that this research now shows that Travel & Tourism does have a strong link to creating peaceful societies.
In a world of increasing risk and security concerns, this research is compelling evidence of why governments should continue to focus on tourism development for the good of their people, and make policy decisions that balance the safety of their citizens with the continued facilitation of travel for business and leisure purposes.”
Steve Killelea, Founder & Executive Chairman, IEP, said: “The data shows how tourism and peace can support each other and increase societal resilience, prosperity, and peace in the long term. This also shows how the tourism sector is one of the key areas in which the private sector can play a positive and tangible role in contributing to global peace.” Notes:
In order to investigate the relationships between tourism and peace, WTTC and IEP developed a Tourism Index for 158 countries that measures the strength of a country’s tourism sector based on sustainability and openness factors. This Index is then analysed alongside the IEP’s established Global Peace, Positive Peace, and Terrorism indices. While the research has investigated and highlighted global patterns and trends in tourism sustainability and various measures of peace, importantly, the research is still at an early stage and has not yet tried to tackle more complex questions such as causality.
*The research used IEP’s three indices that look at peacefulness (negative peace i.e. the absence of violence is measured in their Global Peace Index; positive peace, or the levels of institutions and attitudes in place to foster and promote peace, is measured in their Positive Peace Index and the negative impact of terrorism on lives lost, injuries and property damage is measured by their Global Terrorism Index), and compared them to a composite Tourism Index that was developed specifically for this study. The Tourism Index brought together indicators across political, cultural, social and environmental domains, which combined, are representative of the health or sustainability of a country’s tourism sector.
Click here to download the free report.