The former US president Bill Clinton has said tourism could be a powerful force to change the world for the better.
Speaking at the World Travel and Tourism Council summit in Abu Dhabi yesterday, Mr Clinton said the travel industry was “good for the earth, the children and the future.”
The former politician, who was the US head of state from 1993 to 2001, said that tourism could be used to foster stability and peace.
“I spent a lot of time when I was president, trying to end wars, prevent killing and promote understanding,” he told an audience of travel industry executives and media.
“What I have seen is that peace works better than conflict, and one of the best manifestations of it is in travel and tourism.”
He highlighted the growth of tourism in Croatia after the Balkans conflict of the 1990s, and the dramatic rise in revenues in the decade following the Bosnian peace agreement.
Tourism could also have wider, sometimes overlooked, benefits for communities he said, citing a project organised in Colombia by his own Clinton Foundation to help a group of women growing spices.
“The [Clinton] Foundation reorganised their marketing and got hotels to use their products and market them, and we quadrupled their income,” he said.
“If you do that, it embeds the industry in the local community and builds support that is more human than political.”
Mr Clinton also suggested that tourism could play a leading role in shaping energy policy.
“I predict that we over the next 20 years the travel and tourism industry will lead a re-examination of our energy industry policies. The fact that you have such a great stake in a global stable environment gives you enormous credibility.
“I believe that by simply expanding tourism and in ways that are promote sustainability, [this] reminds people of our common humanity.”
Jolyon Attwooll Telegraph.co.uk