The Pilgrimages for Transformation project: shaping a tourism for peace with justice RAM I KASSIS A Nd R AN J AN S O LOMON
Introduction Palestine is at the centre of issues of justice and peace in the global community. It is also at the centre of efforts to make tourism more just and equitable and harness it for the needs of the Palestinian people. The Alternative Tourism Group of Palestine (ATG) has been at the forefront of the alternative tourism movement and has offered a compelling vision of justice through tourism. The ATG believes responsible1 and just forms of tourism2 offer communities opportunities to share their cultures, tell their stories, request solidarity and foster tolerance and greater understanding. This vision has shaped efforts to convene meetings considering “pilgrimages for transformation”3 and to develop a code of conduct4 for responsible tourism in Palestine. This Code of Conduct has been developed to inform pilgrims and tourists of the reality of Palestine and Palestinians and to seek their support in using tourism to transform contemporary injustices. At the same time, the Code aims to raise awareness among Palestinian tourism stakeholders of how tourism in Palestine can be transformed and enhanced to truly benefit both hosts and visitors. In this chapter, we firstly outline the context of tourism in Palestine, describing the nature of contemporary tourism in Palestine and also outlining how it could be reconfigured to be more just for Palestinians. We then outline the numerous meetings convened by the ATG and others to create a movement of pilgrimages for transformation. Finally, we describe the Palestinian Initiative for Responsible Tourism (PIRT) and present the Code of Conduct5 that was developed to shape the tourism sector to the needs of the Palestinian people. We offer this analysis as an example of one model of how a local, “host” community can proactively work to re-shape tourism and harness it to serve their needs and achieve justice and peace for their people.