Comment: Blair is right to say tourism aids stability

Comment: Blair is right to say tourism aids stability

Tony Blair’s legacy means he may not be the most prudent choice of international statesmen to quote in your favour, but whatever your opinion on his 10 years as prime minister, you could not fail to agree with his views on travel this week.

Speaking at the World Travel & Tourism Council Asia Summit in Seoul on Tuesday, he said travel has the potential to bring more peace and security to the world.

Admittedly, there’s not much that links the millions of Brits who jet off to Spain for two weeks of sun and overindulgence with those working towards world peace.

But you don’t have to look far to find examples of destinations that, having embraced tourism, have found that stability and prosperity come hand in hand.

Spain, indeed, was once one of them. And look at how Burma has jumped on to every independent travellers’ wishlist now it is considered an acceptable and, crucially, safe place to visit.

The official industry booking figures for Egypt demonstrate that if people are given the impression that a place is not safe to visit it has a huge impact on visitor numbers.

While Egypt has many more pressing problems to address than its tourism industry, retaining the friends it has won overseas in recent years will be vital for its future prospects.

Britons are avid travellers and yet it often feels like the travel industry is dismissed as frivolous and dispensable.

A spirit of openness and borderlessness epitomises the age in which we live, and travel is uniquely placed to play a lead role.


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