Post-War Tourism in the Reconciliation Process of New Zealand Vietnam War Veterans

Post-War Tourism in the Reconciliation Process of New Zealand Vietnam War Veterans

Maria Dorsey (University of Otago, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-5053-3.ch007
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Abstract

Tourism has the potential to act as a positive force in reconciliation efforts between countries. The basis of tourism in facilitating reconciliation is premised on people coming into contact with one another in non-adversarial settings, which support a higher probability that positive effects can result from this contact. The investigation on post-war tourism and its role in moving the reconciliation process forward has been limited. Since the Vietnam War ended, there has been a growing phenomenon of Vietnam War veterans returning to visit Vietnam. This chapter examines the impact of New Zealand Vietnam veterans' visits to post-war Vietnam on the reconciliation process with the Vietnamese and with self.
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Introduction

The emotional and physical trauma caused by acts of perceived wrong-doing and traumatic events such as war serves as an impetus for people to seek reconciliation with self and others. The complexity of reconciling relationships within a post-war context centres on the psychological as well as sociological elements that can either support or block the reconciliation process. Tourism as a facilitator of reconciliation is premised on the idea that people coming into contact with one another in non-adversarial settings supports a higher probability that positive effects can result from this contact (Moufakkir & Kelly, 2010). The positive effect of contact in a tourism setting can serve as a catalyst for the development of strategies that addresses past conflicts (Hewstone, Cairns, Voci, Hamberger, & Niens, 2006). In addition, the growth of trust, as well as improved intergroup relations and attitudes from these tourism contacts, may facilitate the reconciliation process among the affected intergroups at the individual level (Hayes & McAllister, 2001).

Intergroup contact is an essential element for reconciliation initiatives, but there are challenges for this contact to occur in a post-war context (Freeman, 2012). There has been a lack of research which investigates tourism and its role in moving the post-war reconciliation process forward. Building upon the conceptualization of reconciliation and previous research on contact theory as well as the collected data on the New Zealand Vietnam War veterans, this chapter provides a clearer understanding of tourism’s impact on the post-war reconciliation process.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Mass Tourism: Participation in tourism in large numbers.

Intergroup Contact: Interaction between in-group and out-group members.

Prejudice: A negative attitude towards an individual, group or race based on their perceived characteristics.

Contact Theory: The idea that in-group members by learning new information about the out-group through direct contact will be less prejudiced towards members of the out-group.

Push Factors: Factors that encourage individuals to travel away from their home.

Post-War Tourism: Starts is at the end of the war that is marked by tourists’ numbers beginning to rebound towards the pre-war period as there is a growing number of adventure tourists, family members of missing servicemen, and opportunists infiltrating the war zone.

Pull Factors: Attributes of a destination that encourage individuals to travel to that location.

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