Tourism plays an integral role in promoting peaceful coexistence among communities by fostering mutual understanding and respect between visitors and hosts. The sector also provides a platform for learning and dialogue among cultures, religions, businesses and nations.

This was said by Tourism, Wildlife and Heritage Cabinet Secretary Hon. Peninah Malonza when she officiated the closing ceremony of the 2023 Global Peace Summit at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC), Nairobi.

In her address to the delegates, CS Malonza noted that Kenya’s tourism industry was an example of how peace and mutual cooperation between diverse communities can be harnessed to benefit everyone. She highlighted how Kenya’s tourist attractions have played an important role in bringing people from all over the world together, thus giving them an opportunity to learn about each other’s cultures.

“Kenya’s tourism industry provides a common ground on which people of diverse backgrounds come together to interact and appreciate each other’s cultures, customs and traditions as well as enjoy each other’s company; thanks to the eclectic range of tourist attractions that we offer. It is therefore only right that every citizen identifies themselves with this industry since it is part of what holds us together as a nation,” CS Malonza said.

She said that young people were now more active than ever before, taking a front seat in the collective address of issues affecting communities and global citizens acting as agents of change with tourism at the epicentre.

“As young ambassadors of peace and tolerance, the onus is on us to ensure that we cultivate peace at all levels of society through creating greater awareness about the value of tourism in fostering peace.”

In Kenya, tourism is an engine for growth and development, especially in rural areas where there is a scramble for resources. Tourism development has transformed marginalized communities into hubs for investment and employment opportunities, while also helping them develop new ways of communication with each other through cultural exchanges. Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) Ag CEO says “The youth can continue to be our ambassadors by actively promoting and participating in nonviolent conflict resolution, engaging in intercultural dialogue and understanding, fostering tolerance and respect for diversity, and advocating for social justice and equality. They can also serve as positive role models and influencers for their peers, mobilize community action and awareness through social media and other communication platforms” Says Chirchir

The UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) encourages the development of responsible tourism initiatives which offer social, economic and environmental benefits to local communities in destinations around the world.

Destinations benefiting the most from tourism’s continued growth include those where governments have invested in infrastructure development and have provided safe conditions for travellers. During the closing ceremony, 100 youths were recognized as Tourism Ambassadors and tasked with championing peace through tourism.

“The 100 volunteer tourism ambassadors we have commissioned have played an important role in promoting peaceful coexistence and harmony within our communities. I encourage the youth to take up their rightful place in the development of our county and continent to ensure that we grow communities as we enjoy our God-given resources” commented CS Malonza. The patron of the Global Peace Chain – Kenya Chapter, Ms Charlene Ruto reiterated the role that the youth plays in the overall harmony, she encouraged participants to ensure they have a voice in fostering harmony and to be part of the general community value system.

The four-day Global Peace Summit convened youth leaders from different countries and brought together diverse participants to learn, build partnerships and act to solve pressing challenges facing communities across the world. It focused on issues affecting youth in communities, including economic transformation, education, peacebuilding and social cohesion.

The global peace chain CEO Kamran Zafar says; “We are delighted to extend our gratification to the Govt. of Kenya and the immense support from the Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Tourism, wildlife and Heritage Peninah Malonza, High Commission of Pakistan and other execution partners for providing great support which enabled us to organize Global Peace Summit which includes the participation of 420 delegates from around 74 countries”

The happenings of three days united youth leaders and mentors to amplify their voices for peace and social justice. Moreover, Global Peace Chain is grateful to the Ministry of Tourism for their potential contribution and for appointing international delegates to Tourism Ambassadors of Kenya. We see our delegates driving social change and discovering further areas to address common challenges”

The tourism industry is increasingly being recognized as the basis through which people can create better understanding and openness between communities, bridge cultural differences and create opportunities for interaction.

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