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The travel industry can bring not just greater prosperity to the world but also “more peace and security” according to Tony Blair.
Former UK prime minister Blair appeared before the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) Asia Summit in Seoul today and said: “We need to know about each other.
“Ignorance breeds fear and fear breeds conflict. That is why travel is important.”
Blair told the WTTC Summit: “Visiting other countries gives people a chance to reflect on what makes other tick.
“The travel industry can help to bring about more commerce and prosperity but also more peace and security.”
He said: “The WTTC can show how tourism impacts a country. However, don’t just mention the impact on GDP, show how tourism can open up a country.”
Discussing the prospects for Africa and some of the world’s poorest countries, Blair said: “Rwanda has enormous problems. But the first thing the president did was ensure there was one really decent hotel.
“The quality of hotels and services matter if you want to attract the right business people.”
Asked about Egypt and the outlook for its tourism, Blair said: “I hope the new government is able to stablise the country and create a new constitution.
“It’s easy from outside to say the military deposed the president, but I believe the army was carrying out the democractic will. I hope they succeed.”
Blair described the Olympic Games, secured for London during his time as prime minister, as “seven years of agony”.
He said winning the competition to host the 2012 Games led to “my most insincere answer to a question” while prime minister.
“A journalist asked if beating the French made it all the sweeter,” said Blair. “I said ‘No, not at all’.
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