How Tourism Can Promote Peace - Part 4

Post date: Dec 11, 2018 9:39:38 PM

Mahboobeh Fahnadezh Saadi/// Mahboobeh is a Tehran-based writer and researcher. She is currently associated with Press for Peace (PFP). "How tourism can promote peace" is her 4-part series of articles on prospects of peace through tourism.

Intra-Kashmir Trade and Travel

India and Pakistan have already initiated a number of confidence-building measures in Kashmir, including the creation of a bus service and the limited expansion of trade across the Line of Control (LoC). Thee present cross-LoC confidence-building measures address primarily the divided families living on both sides of the LoC and thus are limited in scope and do not serve the entire region and all communities of Kashmir. It is imperative for India and Pakistan to expand cross-LoC confidence-building measures and add new initiatives that would address the imbalances in the existing interactions. Expanding tourism in Jammu and Kashmir and Azad Kashmir will result in economic development of the two sides. Cross-LoC tourism will be an important initiative in further expanding the present confidence building and will allow members of the broader civil society of Kashmir to visit and interact with each other. Cross-LoC tourism will expand the scope of interactions between the two sides, beyond the divided families, and include everyone in Kashmir. Cross-LoC tourism will also create constituencies of peace beyond the select group of divided families and businessmen who already benefit from the cross-LoC bus services and truck traffic.

The way forward

As a first step, India and Pakistan should develop a “package tourism” program that would include select destinations on both sides of the LoC. More important, both India and Pakistan should seriously consider further relaxing travel restrictions for people to travel across the LoC. Increase of commute between the two sides may have not dramatic impact, but certainly change the status of the conflict in this region. Tourism by its nature needs an atmosphere of peace and nonviolence. Tourism industry will replace industries like oil. Because oil industry is not renewable, but sustainable tourism is. As tourism can alleviate poverty, boost economy and empower women, all countries should use their tourism potentials to help the development of their own countries. Cross border peace will boost tourism and in turn will promote peace in neighboring countries. Countries like Pakistan and India that have conflict over Kashmir can use their tourism potential by promoting a tourism packages that include tourism attraction of both sides. They can also use sport event such as football to make the two nations closer. Indian and Pakistanis have many things in common and Kashmir is shared between them. Kashmir is called a heaven on the earth. With promotion of tourism in the region, both nations can help boosting their economic status and create job for their nations and improve the infrastructure of roads, hotels, transportations, etc. If governments care for their people, it is a must to forget old animosities and think of advancement of the region. War never make anything better, but peace do. For Comments & Suggestions :