Traditionally, diplomacy has been conducted between the diplomats and ambassadors of different countries. However, there is a shift from traditional diplomacy being conducted by political leaders to a more modern form where the civilian plays a greater role. This emerging form of diplomacy is cultural diplomacy which is a form of exchange that enhances mutual understanding and cooperation.
Cultural diplomacy is increasingly being done by the tourist. Tourism is an important vehicle for cultural diplomacy as it facilitates exchange that builds mutual understanding. As people travel, especially internationally, they encounter other cultures and develop a deeper appreciation of the different ways things are done around the world. Visiting another country is clear example and direct form of cultural exchange.
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Tourism promotes cross-cultural understanding but should be understood in the context of several important factors such as methods, means and modes of tourism. The regulations that make tourism possible are also susceptible to the whims of the international community. As well, there are serious environmental problems caused by the increase in tourism which impact a number of Global Public Goods (GPGs). In face of these problems, new trends in tourism are emerging. Tourism as a global trend is increasing and new approaches will be needed to ensure the responsible continuation of tourism as a tool for cultural exchange.
Tourism possibly accounts for the greatest movement of people worldwide. As well, it is one of the largest growing industries and therefore the importance of tourism as an instrument for cultural diplomacy cannot be overstated. This paper seeks to explore future trends in tourism and assesses the potential opportunities and challenges this sector faces. Lastly, this paper allows insight into which aspects of tourism should be promoted and which developments will be needed in future.