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Author: Irma S. Heavenly Gambimi
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This paper discuses the relationship between tourism, politics and its contribution to world peace with a particular reference to Kenya. It discusses Kenya's fragile democracy and threat of Al-Shabab to Kenya's tourism industry and how the world was united with Kenya to fight the Al-Shabab and to ensure that political atmosphere in Kenya is stable to promote world peace.

Tourism industry has become the largest contributor to the world economy (Robinson et al, 2000) by creating jobs and improved the livelihood of people. Hall and Brown (2006) suggested that tourism along with its obvious international economic impact transcends governmental boundaries by bring people from different cultures together through the understanding of different cultures, environment and heritage. It has become one of the most important vehicles for promoting understanding, trust and goodwill among people all over the world.

According to the United Nations, in 2007 international tourist arrivals passed 900 million and they predicts it will reach the one billion mark by the end of 2010. It is up to developing nations to seize the economic opportunities that foreign visitors present, and some countries have proved more adept than others at doing so.

Though, over the years tourism sector have being under estimated how it can contributed towards world peace especially in developing countries where was is so prevalent in those societies. Saarinen et el. (2009) states that the tourism industry can help promote peace and stability in developing countries by providing jobs, generating income, diversifying the economy, protecting the environment and promote cross cultural awareness.

Relative peace is precondition for a successful tourism industry therefore, for the tourism industry to thrive and contribute towards economic development there is a need of stable and peaceful societies.

Kenya has developed a lucrative tourism sector powered in recent years by ecotourism and some local communities have benefited directly through social and economic development. Kenya over the years has become the largest destination in Africa but is one of the most fragile country in Africa due to their political atmosphere and threats of Al-Shabab to tourists in Kenya.

A typical example in Kenya was the disputed 2007 general election which saw over 1,000 people dead and scores of others injured in the politically instigated tribal crushes that ensued (African National Congress, 2004). Peace only started coming to Kenya after signing of the coalition agreement between the two warring principals namely Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga with the help of the former United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Annan that peace started to slowly be felt.

Due to the instability of the country and safety of tourists resulted to a mass cancellation of holidays previously booked with others cutting short their visit. Also, the recent kidnapping of tourists by Al-Shabab at beach resorts of Kenya have contributed to low turn up of tourists. Due to these threats to Kenya tourism industry, Kenya united at home and decided to fight the enemy in the nearby Somalia who are threat to their peace, security and tourism industry which is a major contributor to their gross domestic product (GDP).

Tourism in common with many other services industries is delicate. People want to feel safe while travelling abroad, and if their safety is in question, fewer people will travel, or they will choose alternative, safer destinations. Wars, border disputes, Coup d`etat, and crime all contribute to unsafe conditions and usually result in sheer declines in tourist flows and border closings (Hall, 2008).

Saarinen et al. (2009) argue that Kenya`s experience demonstrates that tourism can positively affect development and help lay down the building blocks of peace, provided it respects of the environment, works closely with host communities, and harnesses the philanthropic impulses of overseas visitors.

In conclusion, the paper discusses the contribution of tourism towards the world peace especially laying emphasis of instability of the destination country and how the world united to overcome the inability.

The emphasis was typically on Kenya which is a largest destination of tourists in Africa but one of the most fragile countries for tourists when it comes in terms of threats of Al-Shabab to the tourism industry, political instability and environmental depletion due to development of parks and accommodation. This development has mainly displaced the local people who have not seen any practical benefits in their standard of living.

Irrespective of these challenges to tourism, it is a largest contributor to every Kenya's economy, peace and stability because when Kenya is under threat, the whole world is under threat so the advanced countries such as UK, US, France united with Kenya local security to ensure peace in the country.

Key References:

African Nation Congress. (2004) Report on Delivery to Women. ANC Sub-Committee on gender Issues [online]. [Accessed 30 April 2012]. Available at: http: //www.anc.orgza/andocs/reports/2004.

Ashley, C. (2005) Making Tourism work for the poor strategies and challenges in southern Africa. Development Southern Africa, 19 (1), 61-82.

Honey, M. and Gilpin, R. (2009) Tourism in the Developing World: Promoting peace and Reducing Poverty. New York: United States Institute of Peace, p. 233.

Taylor and Francis (2010) Government for sustainable tourism: a comparison of international, 18 (6).

Timothy, D.J. (2002) Tourism and Political Boundaries. Reprinted edition. New York: Routledge.
Restrictions on tourism as generator of peace
Author: Katja Becher
Heavenly Gambimi has written a very interesting discussion paper, which is quite similar to my own piece of work. In my opinion, the relationship between tourism, politics and peace was well presented.

At the beginning, she described the growing significance of the tourism sector as a generator for world peace, especially in developing countries like Kenya. To support her point of view, it is well known that tourism can be seen as 'the driving force for […] progress and development' (Daher, 2007, p. 2). Moreover, she claimed that tourism is a tool for understanding and goodwill between different countries and cultures. I can definitely agree with her statement, because travelling enables tourists to get to know different cultures, their traditions, habits and finally to get an 'international understanding', as exemplified by Kennedy (cited in D'Amore, n.d.). So on the one hand, Heavenly Gambimi supposes that tourism in a country can lead to economic growth, development and trust between the nations. Consequently, tourism can be seen as an important vehicle for peace building.

Nevertheless, while presenting the case study of Kenya, she obviously implied that there might be some restrictions on tourism. She stated that peace came to the country only after contracts and agreements between the warring factions were signed. In this case, it is likely to suppose that tourism could not have solved the political instability of Kenya, but only political agreements were the key to finally bring peace to the country. Furthermore, she enlarges her argument while showing that tourists probably need a certain level of 'peace' in a country, otherwise they will choose alternative and safer destinations. According to Pizam (2002, p. 1), the tourism industry is very sensitive and 'requires peace and tranquility in order to exist and flourish'. To sum up, Heavenly Gambimi presented the positive impacts tourism may have, but limited the 'power' of the tourism industry while stating that a country already needs a certain level of peace or stability in order to attract tourists to come. In that respect, I do genuinely agree with her way of thinking.

However, there are some points that should have been discussed in this paper as well. I think, it would have been important to differentiate the term of tourism, because it is such a flexible term that includes many different forms. In my opinion, not every kind of tourism aims at conveying understanding and goodwill between people. As a consequence, Heavenly Gambimi should have focused on special forms of tourism, e.g. volunteer tourism or ecotourism. Furthermore, she only presented the positive impacts of tourism, but according to Honey and Gilpin (2009, p. 3), tourism can have darker effects as well, like health pandemics or terrorism. There are always two sides which have to be considered.

Nevertheless, I generally agree with her points of view and think that she has presented the relationship between tourism and politics as contributors to peace in a critical and comprehensible way.

Key references:

Daher, R. F. (2007) Tourism in the Middle East - Continuity, Change and Transformation. Clevedon: Channel View Publications.

D'Amore, L. [no date] Peace through tourism: the birthing of a new socio-economic order. [Online]. Available from: http://api.ning.com/files/kqj8PjwXzUAPoimzQ0Vi2P6GzuM7LL
PTT.TheBirthingofaNewOrder.Final3Feb.pdf [Accessed: 15 April 2012].

Honey, M. and Gilpin, R. (2009) Tourism in the Developing World: Promoting peace and Reducing Poverty. New York: United States Institute of Peace.

Pizam, A. D. (2002) Tourism and terrorism. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 21 (1), pp. 1 - 3.