Talking about tourism in Syria’s case might be premature today. However, tourism will have to be a key element in future peace-building and peace-keeping strategies. Peace is generally seen as a precondition for the development of the tourism industry. Yet the possible reverse effect from tourism to peace could also be considered.
While T&T does not in itself eliminate the risk of conflict, it can enhance intercultural understanding and add positively to peace through a two-track diplomacy and can help reduce the risk and incidence of conflict by a) creating a more open society and favoring cultural mixing, T&T can contribute to the national reconciliation process, b) fostering economic activity, it provides valuable opportunities for the population to earn an income. This reduces their incentive to engage in violent conflict and c) acting as a catalyst for cooperation and partnerships between a range of groups and stakeholders.
The conflict has dramatically damaged tourism in Syria and this paper would help start understanding the multi-faceted damage and the sector current and potential future dynamism. This must pave the way for sector policy analysis and vision development within the SPAF document using the policy gap analysis (PGA) as a tool with peace building as an ultimate purpose.