Tourism, Citizenship, and Education: A Virtuous Triangle for Peacebuilding

Tourism, Citizenship, and Education: A Virtuous Triangle for Peacebuilding

Adalberto Dias de Carvalho
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-5053-3.ch015
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Tourism is not necessarily an activity that contributes to the promotion of peace. Well-known testimonies and criticisms point out their adverse effects and consequent rejection, namely in terms of intensive occupation of territories and tampering with local cultures and identities. These harmful impacts undermine the sustainability of tourism, in its complexity (which imply a harmonious but fragile system of interdependent variables, considering the existence of open and universal hospitality) and multidimensionality (because its variables are of a different, but coherent, nature). In this context, sustainability, as necessary and vulnerable, can be easily threatened by immediate economic interests and by significant gaps in civic awareness and the exercise of citizenship by all or part of the tourism protagonists and responsible. Thus, the importance of an education that takes into account the perspective of universal solidarity, which privileges, among others, the contributions of John Dewey's “cultural criticism” and of interactive constructivism.
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Status And Impacts Of Tourism On Contemporary Societies

The cultural diversity of people who cross paths through tourism is significant. It indicates, for example, that, even with apparently similar tourist practices and as widespread as those linked to the enjoyment of the beaches, they are lived differently in the West and in the east. In reality, tourists seek different experiences according to their cultures and, in this case, according to the way they value the aesthetics of their body. There is also diversity in what is sought: for example, the nature in Bhutan, the historical heritage in Florence, the boldness of modernity in Dubai. In several places, such as Jerusalem or Auschwitz, it is the memories that have been stored there: in the first, with the Holocaust recorded in the Auschwitz museum and in the Birkenau camp; in the second, with the several sacred places that eternalise moments and practices of the Christian, Jewish and Muslim religions. With the growing urbanisation of our societies, there tends to be an aesthetic and cultural appreciation of rurality, of bucolicism and of the natural landscapes associated with it, while inhabitants of less economically developed areas preferentially seek the fascination of the urban paradigm. From complementarity to conflict between these perspectives often goes a small step whenever the meetings translate into misunderstandings due to reciprocal ignorance.

In any case, in a globalised society such as ours, there are new ways of contact between peoples, which may allow the development of relations of harmony when, in particular, the current means of communication, namely the internet, expand the possibilities of mutual familiarity. Nevertheless, it all depends largely on the attitudes of the actors involved – visitors, host communities, tourism professionals – and, first and foremost, on their awareness of the nature and importance of otherness as an ethos of the relationship. All this to the extent that only the recognition of the other as another person with its own identity and dignity allows a true interpersonal encounter and not a simple subject-object relationship that tends to assume itself as a power relationship. As Gérard Leclerc (2015, p. 270) states, “contact is the fortuitous result of physical proximity” while “the encounter is the product of an intentional approach”.

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