Why tourism is a tool for peace as well as development!
The mayor of Adeje, José Miguel Rodríguez Fraga, has said, “tourism is a potent tool for local development and peace…in confronting death and terrorism…tourism can bring life, it is people reconnecting. It is our opportunity, as human beings, to promote peace. There’s an economic side too, but a place cannot be a tourist destination or cannot strive to be one without a welcoming atmosphere, without security, etc. So tourism has a value in the peaceful development of different places.”
The mayor was speaking at the International Tourism Forum, held in Arona on Monday of this week, and organised by the Tribuna Fórum. The title of his address was (translated) “Tourism as a key part of inter-population relations”
The Adeje mayor spoke of his firm belief that “tourism is a hugely important tool in the improvement of society and people, and here in the south it has been a blessing, and brought with it the need for co-ordination and co-operation. The south (of Tenerife) is an important contributor to the wealth of the Canary Islands and we cannot allow that to be a one-sided relationship. All need to accept their responsibilities and come together to show other institutions the best way forward, while of course always respecting the individuality of each borough, because that is where the richness lies. All, he added, under the umbrella of the Canary Islands and Spain who have helped create our position (in the world of tourism).”
Given that tourism is the economic motor of the islands, the Adeje mayor based his intervention on calling for co-ordination of the different Canarian boroughs “to advance and promote ourselves”. He also restated his firm conviction that “tourism won’t benefit us if we don’t take into account the well-being of the people who live here – this is very important, a key factor, and ethical. Furthermore it is another way of improving the destination, if those who live and work here are valued they in turn treat visitors in a better way. The discussion about tourism is well laid out, but at times is very financially-centered, and we need to reorient the discussion, make it more humanist”.
In this regard he gave Adeje as an example, “as a tiny metaphor for how tourism has contributed to a better distribution of wealth, evolving from a primarily agricultural society, where ownership of the land was in the hands of the few, to a modern developed society where everyone has the opportunity to grow”.
The current global positioning of Costa Adeje would not have been possible, continued José Miguel Rodríguez, “without the collaboration and support of the business sector, and the decisions made by this local administration, training of workers, etc. This whole process has seen a radical change in our society in just 20 years, and our people have also seen the bigger picture and have been to the fore in adapting to change in the 21st century, taking on board globalisation, new technologies, etc.”
The Adeje mayor also took the participants through the recent integration campaigns, developed in the Town Hall, that have been operating in the borough, from “Adeje nuestro pueblo/Adeje our town”, reinforcing belonging and pride, “Adeje vive adeje convive/Adeje live and let live” to the current ongoing “Adeje, convivencia 10/Adeje, harmonious coexistence 10/10” campaign, whereby the council are promoting mutual understanding among the different cultures that are part of Adeje as an opportunity for human development.