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THESSALONIKI DECLARATION ON PEACE THROUGH TOURISM

We the representatives of ACTA, ATAM, HATTA, TURSAB, YUTA and participants at the IIPT Peace and Friendship Conference through Tourism, assembled in Thessaloniki, Greece from 11-14, May 2001…..

Recognizing the fundamental human right of people to travel, and that travel opens minds, builds mutual respect and understanding, and provides benefits to both the traveler and host destinations……

Observing that the more people learn about their own culture, history and traditions, the more they wish to share their heritage; and further……

That through tourism, people discover that they have much in common to share and celebrate - and can live together in harmony…….

Support the recent Declaration of Pope John Paul II and His Beatitude Christodoulos Archbishop of Greece expressing the hope with others throughout the world that on the occasion of the Olympic Games to be held in Greece, 2004, the ancient traditions of the Olympic Truce will be renewed, according to which all wars had to stop, and terrorism and violence had to cease.

Endorse the "Sister City" initiatives of Municipal Councils in the region which foster a mutual understanding, respect and appreciation of historical, religious, and cultural diversity particularly the cultural heritage contributions of minorities.

Applaud the decision of Greece and Turkey to reduce budgets for weapons and strongly support a "Long Term Agreement of Non-Attack" between countries in the Balkan and Eastern Mediterranean Region.

And

Agree to collaborate in a matter that brings mutual benefits to all parties towards the common aims of improving the quality of life and the social, cultural, economic and environmental spheres as is possible through sustainable tourism development.

Recognize as potential areas of cooperation, culture, education; student exchanges; information sharing; cultural, religious and alternative tourism; and responses to natural disasters, and Encourage regional cooperation through projects such as the Kayakoy Restoration Project, the Tempus-Phare academic initiative, environmental initiatives (particularly concerning the Mediterranean Sea), and themed tourism routes which incorporate several countries such as "In the Footsteps of St. Paul".

We strongly recommend:

1. The liberalization of government formalities and visa restrictions, and the reduction of taxes and levies in the Balkan and Eastern Mediterranean Region.

2. Increases in the frequency and modes of transportation connecting destinations within the region.

3. The use of 21st Century technology such as the "World-Wide Web" and the Internet as vehicles to promote the Building of a Culture of Peace through Tourism within the region and to share information on how travelers can contribute and assist with local social, cultural, environmental and humanitarian projects in the areas they visit.

4. Protection and restoration of historical monuments and land-marks as reminders of lessons learned from historical milestones from which wisdom can be gained in guiding us in future decision making towards a better future for humanity.

5. That emphasis be given on Peace and Cultural Studies in the education of children of all ages and the learning of languages, culture and histories of neighboring states encouraged. That the element of Peace and Friendship be incorporated in all tourism curricula.

6. Initiation of Communications programs to create greater public awareness and involvement within the region to the vision of "Building a Culture of Peace through Tourism" including promotion of the IIPT Credo of the Peaceful Traveler and the IIPT logo "Travel Promotes Peace"

7. The concept of Peace through Tourism and tourism education be incorporated in the Cultural Olympiad; and that we strive to make Cyprus a model of Peace and friendship through Tourism for the Mediterranean Region and throughout the world in the spirit of the original Olympic Games.

We welcome and support the declaration of the United Nations of an International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World (2001 2010), and

Commit ourselves to the realization of the goals and objectives as enshrined in the United Nations Declaration and Program of Action on a Culture of Peace through our activities and initiatives.

Adopted in Thessaloniki 14 May 2001 by representatives of: Association of Cyprus Travel Agencies (ACTA), Association of Tourist Agencies of Macedonia (ATAM), Hellenic Association of Tourist Travel Agencies (HATTA), Association of Turkish Travel Agencies (TURSAB), and Yougoslva Travel Agencies Association (YUTA)


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International Institute for Peace Through Tourism