22nd September 2010
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’.
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) …
- UK tour operators set to offer excursions into Palestine
- Blog: Would you consider a holiday in Iraq?
- New research finds France is the best place to live
‘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.
RELATED & ETCETERA
- WSJ: Tony Blair delivers Holy Land sales pitch
- Fox, video: Blair on America’s place in the world
- Guardian: Would Aid Flourish without Religion?
Sign the Ban Blair-Baiting petition here
“Mr. Blair is one of the finest politicians to have had the priviledge of serving the United Kingdom, and Britons are fortunate to have had him as their Prime Minister. Time will show that Mr. Blair’s approach to affairs in the Middle East were and remain correct. From a member of the Commonwealth, thank you, Mr. Blair, for your continued service to legitimate and lasting (and not convenient or politically expedient) freedom.”
AND – “Tony Blair was the greatest Prime Minister since Winston Churchill and the only regret I have he didn’t get my vote as I live in Canada.”
AND – ““I am sick and tired of television and radio interviewers asking the same old questions over and over, regarding the decision to go to war in Iraq, presumably they hope Mr Blair will let slip some secret information which they would then use against him. History will show if the decision was the right one, (I believe it was) but people must accept that Tony Blair is a honourable man, and made his decision based on the known facts and not with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight.”
Tags: Audley Travel, Conde Nast Traveler, Council on Foreign Relations, Cox & Kings, Daily Mail, Holy Land, Intrepid Travel, Israel, Mark Twain, Middle East, new york, palestine, promotes tourism, Ramblers Worldwide Holidays, Tony Benn, Tony Blair, tourism, World Savers Congress