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Tourism can help bring peace in the Middle East says WTO Secretary-General

The dynamism of tourism can help bring peace to the Middle East, World Tourism Organization (WTO) Secretary-General Francesco Frangialli told the …

The dynamism of tourism can help bring peace to the Middle East, World Tourism Organization (WTO) Secretary-General Francesco Frangialli told the third Prime Minister`s Conference for Tourism to Israel held in Jerusalem.



Tourism and peace are inseparable. The forces unleashed by tourism are so powerful that they can change apparently irreversible situations and bring about reconciliation where none was considered possible, said Mr. Frangialli.



Tourism is a harbinger of peace for destinations and tourism operators in a small region like the Holy Land, bound together by a common destiny and by a common interest in shared development projects. Why confront each

other when peace profits everyone and conflict no one?,
he asked. It also promotes a direct contact between visitor and host, which is irreplaceable,

prompting the question how anyone can feel enmity for someone he has known or received personally, or has received him.



The grave events that have occurred over the past years prove that our message must become stronger, to dispel, once and for all, the encumbrances of the past and the forces of unreason, said the Secretary-General,

conveying condolences to the families of victims of the most recent attack on a bus on Sunday.



Recalling the Millennium Week meetings organized by WTO in September 2000, which brought together the tourism ministers of Israel and Jordan and the Palestinian Authority, Mr. Frangialli said there is a need to strive

unremittingly to ensure that the solidarity forged in the past emerges once again,




Every one of us is responsible for tourism, and we must not allow ourselves to become discouraged. The virtues of harmonious coexistence and brotherhood that our sector fosters and embodies are no less powerful than the divisions and passions it will have to overcome.



During that Millennium Week, WTO had relayed two clear messages – tourism can contribute decisively to furthering the peace process and, once peace is secured, would be the leading economic sector to benefit from it – which

are still true today.

United in yesterday`s prosperity, the entire region`s operators now stand together in adversity, he said. WTO remains by the side of all of them.



While Israel had had to face repeated terrorist aggressions, none had been aimed at foreign travellers. And, with the rest of the Holy Land, the country forms part of a unique destination that will continue to attract

visitors.



The day will come when tourism and peace will, side by side, resume their forward march, said Mr Frangialli. On that day there will be no lack of

WTO support for those who are responsible for tourism in Israel, and all the Middle East destinations, to help them get their industry back on the path of growth and to once again tap its immense potential.




The Conference began on Sunday and attracted more than 600 persons, among others government officials, private sector, diplomats, representatives of religious groups and the media. Mr. Frangialli also met with the Israeli

President and once minister of tourism, Mr. Moshe Kazav, and expressed his condolences about the recent terrorist attack on a bus in Jerusalem that occurred on Sunday.

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