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Battir: Creative Resistance in a Front Line—Opportunities and Dilemmas of Tourism Development in a Conflict Zone

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Tourism development in a conflict zone poses challenges. The structural violence of occupation poses real threats to the existence of the village. Battir's inhabitants can build on a tradition of non-violent, creative resistance. Hasan Mustafa initiated creative resistance in 1948 and saved the village from destruction. In retelling the motivations, facts, and events in Battir 1948 a tour guide speaks also about creativity, community, and opportunities for change. In terms of economic dynamics of Holy Land tourism Battir's inhabitants are excluded by Israeli marketing, while Palestinian marketing still needs profiling and fresh ideas. But meanwhile other dynamics appear in Battir: Inhabitants have started to react to the UNESCO World Heritage status of village lands and traditional agriculture, and offer services to visitors. Local products are sold and the beauty of the village can be enjoyed by sitting down with a cup of coffee. Because tourism is new to the village, the cultural dynamics unfolding could be influenced by the inhabitants if tourism would be formed consciously beyond the marketing for more visitors. The amazing story of Hasan Mustafa is an asset for a touristic Battir experience in the framework of a conflict-sensitive tourism. Is the immaterial inheritance, especially the stories about creative resistance, part of the future tourism product, an add-on to UNESCO World Heritage status? The stories still have to be put together to form a reflected narrative that motivates to recognize one's own role in the conflict and the perspective towards change. Therefore, Palestinian tour guides can play a decisive role. This role and the impact of a reflected narrative cannot be underestimated. It is possible to contribute to an awareness of visitors beyond mere contact at a touristic site. Battir can be a sample for a tourism development that serves the village as a whole, if methods and ideas of conflict-sensitive tourism are applied. Inclusion of all stakeholders, a carefully developed strategy, and income for the community and the local government are important to maintain the UNESCO World Heritage landscape. Information about threats and the structure of violence need to be part of the touristic products. With a guided learning experience Battir can continue the inheritance of creative resistance.
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Keywords: CONFLICT SENSITIVE; CREATIVE RESISTANCE; GUIDED LEARNING EXPERIENCE; NARRATIVE; TOUR GUIDE; TOURISM DEVELOPMENT

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 27, 2019

This article was made available online on May 5, 2019 as a Fast Track article with title: "BATTIR: CREATIVE RESISTANCE IN A FRONT LINE OPPORTUNITIES AND DILEMMAS OF TOURISM DEVELOPMENT IN A CONFLICT ZONE".

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  • Tourism, Culture & Communication is international in its scope and will place no restrictions upon the range of cultural identities covered, other than the need to relate to tourism and hospitality. The Journal seeks to provide interdisciplinary perspectives in areas of interest that may branch away from traditionally recognized national and indigenous cultures, for example, cultural attitudes toward the management of tourists with disabilities, gender aspects of tourism, sport tourism, or age-specific tourism.
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