Tony Blair’s blue-sky thinking: Tourism for peace in the Holy Land

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    22nd September 2010

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    After the negative navel-gazing of the last couple of posts, here – Dangerous BNP madman, Arthur Kemp: “Tony Blair must be hanged” and here –  Tony Benn on Tony Blair: “I’m not in favour of a war crimes tribunal” what is the man himself up to?

    Tony Blair promotes tourism to the Holy Land to support peace process (25:25)

    From tonyblairoffice | 20 September 2010

    Quartet Representative Tony Blair delivers the keynote speech on “Holy Land Tourism and the Peace Process” to the Conde Nast Traveler World Savers Congress in New York, 20th September, 2010

    It is also at his website here

    ______________________
    Confessing to sounding “evangelic” about the prospect for the development of tourism in the whole region, Tony Blair is right on this ground-up initiative.  Right, as in – “Great idea. And so obvious! Why hasn’t anyone else thought of that?”

    Even the Daily Mail has not tried to tear this Blair initiative down, for once.

    MAIL: Tony Blair has called for one of most daring tourism campaigns imaginable – a joint marketing campaign by Israel and the Palestinians to promote the West Bank as a tourist destination.

    In a speech at Conde Nast Traveller magazine’s World Savers Congress, the former prime minister said that the West Bank is ripe for a ‘major joint marketing campaign’ with Israel to promote tourism to the Holy Land.

    Blair, who currently serves as a special envoy for the Middle East, highlighted his belief that the peace process ‘is at a crucial juncture’ and that tourism represents a ‘huge economic opportunity for the Palestinian people as well as a huge support to the peace process’.

    Tony Blair has been seeking solutions to the Middle East conflict since he stepped down as prime minister

    The West Bank is considered one of the world’s most troubled regions which has seen both political and violent conflict for decades. Admitting that his speech was ‘a sales pitch’, Mr Blair said: ‘I love every moment I’m there.

    ‘When you stand on Mount Nebo in Jordan, where there is a wonderful 4th century church, you can see right across the Jordan valley and see the lights of Jerusalem in the distance.

    ‘Once you are there you understand why in the 1860’s why Mark Twain said that every few hundred miles, you had to read up on 100 years of history.’

    Mr Blair said that according to new figures, the number of tourists visiting Palestine have risen 600 per cent in the past few years while in Israel, visitor numbers have increased 40 per cent in the last year alone. In the West Bank, hotel occupancy has almost doubled in the past year.

    More (via The Mail) …

    ‘Tourism in the holy land, comes at a moment when we have some momentum with us.’ Blair said. ‘We have a generational opportunity to create peace.’

    Mr Blair currently works as a Middle East envoy on behalf of Russia, the U.S. the EU and the UN to seek solutions to the Middle East conflict.

    His comments echo ambitious plans laid down by four UK travel operators earlier this year to offer bolt-on excursions into Palestine as part of their tour packages to Jordan and Egypt.

    Four operators – Audley Travel, Cox & Kings, Intrepid Travel and Ramblers Worldwide Holidays – have expressed interest in adding a three-day whistle-stop tour of Palestine to existing programmes, due to increased demand from clients.

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    8 Responses to “Tony Blair’s blue-sky thinking: Tourism for peace in the Holy Land”

    1. little ole American Says:

      This is just common sense, isn’t it? Some time back, PM Blair had mentioned something about improving the economy of Gaza and the Palestinians. I think you did a post on how he was helping a Palestinian businessman to acquire the proper permits so the man could get his business going and be able to put people to work. The connection to “peace” and the economy are inseparable. If you have people who are starving and have no jobs, you will have war. That’s just how it goes all over the world. Improve the economy of the country and you will have peace. Simple. Once, the Palestinians see the improvement in their lives, economically, they will turn away from the terrorist groups, like Hamas.

      • keeptonyblairforpm Says:

        Yes, little ole. Like every good idea once it’s happened, we describe it as common sense.

        Apart from Tony Blair, who has always been on about bottom-up work in the region, and working with communities and business people towards it, I have to say I haven’t heard others involved in the Middle East peace process talking about this, though.

        If you have any friends in the travel industry I suggest they do as Mr Blair suggests in this video. Get in touch with his office to arrange a visit to the region. Blair understands business. And he wants this to work. A useful partner.

    2. Omar Moufakkir Says:

      It is great that someone like Tony Blair talks about Peace through Tourism in the Holy Land. Not long ago, I have edited a book titled Tourism, Progress and Peace (CABI 2010), with chapter 11 dealing with “Re-evaluating Political Tourism in the Holy Land: Towards a Conceptualisation of Peace Tourism”. I am very happy to see that Tony Blair’s speech supports the ideas discussed in this chapter. Here is a desccription of this chapter:
      Omar Moufakkir (Chapter 11) discusses political consumerism as strategy
      employed to support or denounce a political, social, or environmental action, with an emphasis on the concepts of tourism boycotting and boycotting of the Holy Land. He then offers a re-evaluation of political tourism in the Israeli–Palestinian context, with attention to the conceptualization of peace tourism as the antithesis of politically oriented tourism and denounces solidarity tourism as a form of tourism that perpetuates stereotypes and extends social, political and cultural gaps between belligerent groups, thereby contributing to conflict reinforcement rather than resolution. The author reviews the initiatives of the Tourism4Peace Forum as an example of best practice, reflecting the very essence of the peace through tourism concept.”

    3. Omar Moufakkir Says:

      Hi there,
      The book Tourism, Progress and Peace was published in June 2010. The purpose of my comment was by no means to suggest that Mr. Blair is expanding on my chapter, and if he has done so then I am sure I must have sold at least one copy.

    4. Omar Moufakkir Says:

      Hi there,
      The book Tourism, Progress and Peace was published in June 2010. The purpose of my comment was by no means to suggest that Mr. Blair is expanding on my chapter, and if he has done so then I am sure I must have sold at least one copy!
      Thank you for visiting my site. Please join us in Jordan for the Global Conference on Tourism and Peace http://www.tourismprogressandpeace.com, March 24-26, 2011.
      All the best.

    5. Omar Moufakkir Says:

      Hi there,
      The book Tourism, Progress and Peace was published in June 2010. The purpose of my comment was by no means to suggest that Mr. Blair is expanding on my chapter, and if he has done so then I am sure I must have sold at least one copy!
      Thank you for visiting my site. Please join us in Jordan for the Global Conference on Tourism and Peace
      http://www.tourismprogressandpeace.com, March 24-26, 2011.
      All the best.

    6. http://bountytechgaming.com/member.php?action=profile&uid=1361 Says:

      Hey! I know this is kind of off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I
      could locate a captcha plugin for my comment form? I’m using the
      same blog platform as yours and I’m having problems finding one?
      Thanks a lot!

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