Value of Tourism

A few days ago I came across an article titled “Vacation for Less: Vacation in Iraq?”  It was about how Iraq used to be a big travel destination, a sort of discussion of whether it will be again, and would you want to go there.

While I believe it was written to make readers think and to share an interview with a man who had recently visited as a tourist, what really got me going were the people who decided to comment on the article. Almost all of them thought the idea of traveling to Iraq was insane, which I guess I can understand, but most of these people were so closed-minded about it. One person actually said:

… if SOMEONE IS STUPID ENOUGH TO LEAVE THIS GREAT COUNTRY TO VISIT ANYTHING IN ANOTHER COUNTRY then they DESERVE every hardship and problem that they get!!!! PERIOD!!!….IF YOU’RE A TOURIST — YOU’RE AN IDIOT!!!!…

passportIraq is not on my list, and probably won’t be for the foreseeable future, but this guy’s broad statements about tourism in general drove me crazy. I believe there are tons of amazing things to see in the US, and that it’s important to explore our own country and appreciate our own history. However, exploring other parts of the world is just as valuable. You can’t truly appreciate what we have in the US without seeing how people live in other parts of the world. You can’t truly understand US history without learning European history and finding out about the things the led up to our country’s existence.

Traveling makes you think about all kinds of things in an entirely different light, and you can’t always get that within your own boundaries and comfort zone. Traveling has made me a different person, and I can’t imagine limiting myself to our small corner of the world. I wish more people would open their minds and realize how much there is to be gained by hopping on a plane and exploring other countries and cultures. This guy thinks tourists are idiots – I think those who DON’T venture out are the ones lacking intelligence.

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