Intifada Casts its Shadow on Amman Tourism Summit
By Noura Wazani
Albawaba.com - Amman
Amid continuing violence in the Palestinian lands, the first global tourism summit opened in Amman Thursday, with the aim of finding ways of utilizing tourism to bolster prospects of peace in the Middle East and other regions in the World.
“The tourism industry has been adversely affected by the events in Palestinian lands, and we hope that peace will prevail there for the sake of the coming generations,” Jordan’s Minister of Tourism, Akel Biltaji, said at the opening ceremony.
The conference aims at demonstrating support of the world’s largest industry for a continuation of the peace process in the Middle East and other regions of the world, according to the IIPT booklet, which added that the assembly would seek to heal “the wounds of conflict.”
Delegates from more than 60 countries all over the world convened in the Jordanian capital to attend the four-day “Global Summit on Peace Through Tourism.”
“There can be no tourism around the world without peace,” Biltaji added, stressing that travel and tourism idustry must do its best to help promote peace in the world’s trouble spots.
The summit is organized by the International Institute for Peace Through Tourism (IIPT), a non-profit institution founded in 1986 with a vision of “Tourism as a Global Peace Industry.”
“This vision was grounded in the 1980 Manila Declaration, which challenged the industry with a concept of tourism that emphasizes the social, economic, cultural and political value of tourism,” said IITP President, Noel Brown in his speech.
Jordan’s Prime Minister Ali Abu Ragheb, who deputized for King Abdullah II, inauguarated the event.
In the speech he delivered on bahalf of King Abdullah, the premier said that “Jordan has become a model of peace-making and peace building.”
Reinforcing Jordan’s image as a “land of peace”, and drafting an “Amman Declaration” are among the main objectives of the summit, said the booklet.
the late King Hussein’s efforts towards peace were brilliantly highligted at the opening session. IITP Vice President, Karen Alberto, told Albawaba.com that the “summit seeks to commemorate the late King Hussein peace-making legacy.”
She recommened Jordan as “one of the region’s leading countries that signed peace treaties with Israel, ending years of hatred between the two peoples.”
“King Hussein brought peace to his country, guaranteeing a brighter future for his people,” said Alberto.
A ten-minute movie featuring the late king’s peace achievements was screened as well as three songs by The Family International group.
“Tourism, not oil or any other related field, will be the industry that can bring people all around the world together,” concluded Alberto.
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