The Cultural Angle, a boutique consultancy, aims to inspire enjoyable, enriching and rewarding travel experiences while at the same time encouraging more sustainable travel and tourism practices by all stakeholders through enjoyable and inspiring transformative learning experiences.
At the core of these aspirations lies my belief that we are all travellers, able to take on the role of ambassadors for peace, fostering a culture of peace while travelling to distant lands and at home.
This is not a new idea and is something that I contemplated already in 2002 when I presented a paper at the First Pacific-Rim Conference on Leisure Education in Hawaii, proposing informal and non-formal means of learning avenues to inspire mindful and caring tourists and travellers.
Travel has been recognised as part of individuals’ social worlds and for its therapeutic and cathartic potential. It is, and always has been very much a cultural practice relevant to its time and place. The constant diversification of tourism ‘product’ offerings and the growth of the tourism industry in this day and age is a reflection of this dynamic.
These days travel and tourism attract millions of people from around the world with more and more destinations worldwide embracing tourism as a socio-economic driver. International tourist arrivals have grown from 25 million in 1950 to 278 million in 1980 and to 1186 million in 2015 (UNWTO 2016).
Having lived, worked and travelled to different places around the globe, I have realised again and again that we all live in a world of relentless mobility and multi cultural societies where travel and tourism are ever more part of the constant dynamics of change in our global life system. No matter the reasons for our travels, all of us are travellers throughout life co-creating our own life experiences and that of others.
We all have an impact on each other and our environment, both of positive and negative nature. While travel and tourism is regarded as the catalyst for enjoyable and enriching experiences, economic benefits and greater mutual understanding, travel and tourism can also have negative impacts and create cultural anxiety and disconnections among all kinds of travellers, between tourists and host communities and societies at large.
Increasingly we are witnessing friction and conflict of varying magnitude in all parts of the world (toposophy.com 2016). Concerns for greater appreciation and welcome of positive diversity in every sphere of life are growing.
Already governmental organisations, NGOs and private industry representatives have been actively engaged in promoting and implementing the concepts of sustainable tourism and peaceful travel since the 1980s (eTN 2016).
However, there is still growing potential for directly targeting the tourists and travellers as active participants and contributors through campaigns and programs in the overall aspiration of responsible and conscious tourism as a driver for peace.
The recently launched global ‘Travel for Peace Campaign’ by the International Institute for Peace through Tourism (IIPT) aims to address this and connect with tourists and travellers more directly through the multitude of industry representatives.
Along with many other like-minded and like-hearted individuals and organisations, I believe that we all can be champions and ambassadors for a more connected and caring way of living together. A way of living where the art of leisure and travel reflects not only hedonistic attitudes and behaviour but also mindful actions that consider different needs and perspectives in support of the concept of a culture of peace.
Fostering greater empathy, understanding and appreciation of the beauty of diversity out there and diversity within each of us is a way to empower all of us as life travellers to become champions and ambassadors for peaceful travel and tourism practices and peaceful coexistence during our travels and at home.
Travel provides a potentially transformative context that stimulates greater sensitivity and mindfulness for not only other people’s life stories but also our own personal stories; our own cultural and emotional guiding patterns and our established habits of communication. Greater awareness and understanding of these open the doors to mutually enriching experiences and harmonious relationships in travel and tourism and in our daily lives.
I sincerely invite everyone to explore and to connect with me through The Cultural Angle’s website and to get in touch with me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.