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3rd Forum on Economic Co-operation: Tourism in the Middle East 3rd to 7th July 2005

For the third time, the Wittenberg Center hosted economic and peace talks between Israel and Jordan.

The talks took place from 3rd to 7th July and centered on issues related to tourism in the Middle East. The intention was to fathom the potential of the transnational travel industry in the region and to foster cooperation. Both, Israel and Jordan sent heads of important touristic companies and hotels as well as representatives of associations and ministries to join the economic delegations. The participants discussed the impact tourism has on peace and security in the Middle East and vice versa. Simultaneously, they talked about specific measures such as border and visa issues, joint activities in the travel industry and inter-coordinated marketing.

The Amman Center for Peace in Jordan, headed by General (ret.) Mansur Abu Rashid, has been organizing the Joint Economic Seminars in cooperation with the Peres Center for Peace, founded by the Nobel Prize-winning vice-president of Israel Shimon Peres and the Wittenberg Center for Global Ethics since 2003. The DaimlerChrysler Group provides the necessary funding and functions as a key partner for organizing and hosting the conference. Godel Rosenberg from Israel and Josef Schleicher from Stuttgart, Germany have crucially contributed to the success of the economic and peace talks bringing in the knowledge of the region they have gathered over the years.

At the end of the Forum a declaration was signed and will be forwarded to the countries' governments to play a role in the ongoing political processes. The core message is that substantial economic ties between Israel and her Arab neighbors hold the key to stability and peace in the Middle East. Transnational tourism is a crucial factor as it fosters awareness of the other nations, their culture and religion. A few months after the conference in Wittenberg, the Tourism Ministers of Israel, Jordan, Egypt and the Palestinian territories met to agree on what steps to take for enabling transnational tourism.

Declaration for the 3rd Joint Economic Forum (PDF)