America's Tactics During the Cold Research Proposal

  • Length: 9 pages
  • Sources: 25
  • Subject: Recreation
  • Type: Research Proposal
  • Paper: #82907902

Excerpt from Research Proposal :

Nevertheless, the vast majority of current visitors to the kingdom remain religious pilgrims completing their Hajj obligations. As Jafari points out, "The Hajj brings millions of pilgrims (definitionally tourists) each year to Saudi Arabia, where this and other holy places are located, and the pilgrims both on Hajj and umrah (done not on the prescribed annual date) form the major part of foreign visitors to this country" (2000: 270).

Taken together, the foregoing trends indicate that the travel and tourism industry is going to become an increasingly important element in the Saudi gross national product in the years to come, especially for religious pilgrims who have already made the trip. For instance, Jafari emphasizes that, "From the perspective of tourism, the religious motive is only one among many which impels tourism movements" (2000: 498). Consequently, identifying how soft power policies can help facilitate this goal represents a timely and valuable enterprise. In this regard, Wells adds that, "Millions of pilgrims travel to holy sites such as Mecca every year. Pilgrimage is big business. Saudi Arabia is currently leading the way in expanding its religious tourism sectors" (2007: 48). Although it is reasonable to suggest that a significant percentage of the millions of people who take the time and invest the resources to complete their religious pilgrimage to Mecca and adjunct visits to Medina may want to explore the country further without any additional inducement, for others, particularly non-Muslims, attracting international visitors to Saudi Arabia during the Hajj and throughout the rest of the year makes the policy agenda needed to apply soft power tactics all the more important. Therefore, Saudi Arabia appears to be experiencing a boom in its travel and tourism industry for two fundamental reasons:

1. The kingdom hosts the Hajj which draws millions of pilgrims each year; and,

2. Many Middle Eastern citizens are highly affluent and can afford to spend significant amounts of money on travel and tourism (Wells 2007).

The foregoing assertion is supported by Wells who points out, "Not only does the Middle East receive many thousands of visitors, it also has a vast spending power, with Saudi Arabia one of the biggest for outbound markets. UAE travellers spend . . . An average of $1,700 per trip, which is $500 higher than the European average" (2007: 48). In other words, the travel and tourism industry is already in full swing in Saudi Arabia and all signs indicate that this industry will continue to expand in the future. The harsh reality of the situation, though, is that Saudi Arabia may have a difficult time attracting additional international visitors from outside the Middle East unless and until it takes the steps needed to overcome its perception as a staid and highly restrictive society that does not welcome outsiders, particularly in the post-September 11, 2001 climate -- and this is where national policies based on soft power become especially important.

The total number of religious pilgrims who complete the Hajj each year has experienced steady growth over the years as shown in Table 1 and Figures 1 through 3 below; it is important to note that the number of Saudi citizens who are participating in the Hajj has decreased somewhat during this period while the number of non-Saudi visitors has experienced steady increases.

Table 1

Number of Hajj pilgrims: 1996-2006

Year

Saudis

Non-Saudis

Total

1996

784,769

1,080,465

1,865,234

1997

774,260

1,168,591

1,942,851

1998

699,770

1,132,344

1,832,114

1999

775,268

1,056,730

1,831,998

2000

571,599

1,267,555

1,839,154

2001

549,271

1,363,992

1,913,263

2002

590,576

1,354,184

1,944,760

2003

610,117

1,431,012

2,041,129

2004

592,368

1,419,706

2,012,074

2006

629,710

1,534,769

2,164,469

Source: Hajj and Umrah Statistics, Ministry of Hajj, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 2008.

Figure 1. Number of Saudis who completed the Hajj during the period from 1996 to 2006

Source: Ministry of Hajj, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (2010)

Figure 2. Number of Non-Saudi residents who completed the Hajj during the period from 1996 to 2006

Source: Ministry of Hajj, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (2010)

Figure 3. Total Number of Pilgrims completing the Hajj: 1996 -- 2006

Source: Ministry of Hajj, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (2010)

Definition of Key Terms

The proposed study will use the definitions for the key terms that are described in Table 3 below.

Table 3

Definition of Key Terms

Key Term

Definition

Hajj

This term refers to the religious pilgrimage to Mecca that all Muslims are obligated to perform at least once in their lives if they are physically and financially capable of doing so (Gearon 2006:44).

Soft power

For the purposes of the proposed study, this term will use the definition provided by Nye: "A country may obtain the outcomes it wants . . . because other countries -- admiring values, emulating its example, aspiring to its level of prosperity and openness - want to follow it" (2004: 5).

Umrah

This term means "visitation" and ". . . involves visiting the holy sites at other times of the year. Many who are on pilgrimage also perform the umrah rituals before, during, or after the hajj. However, performing the umrah does not fulfill the hajj obligation" (Esposito 2002: 21).

Recap

The research showed that the term "soft power" was originally used to describe the methods used by the United States during the Cold War to "win the hearts and minds" of people in other countries. Since that time, the term has become more applicable to any method that is used to persuade others based on moral authority, an enviable culture or other factors. The research also showed that the travel and tourism industry is enormously important to the economies of many countries and that the Saudi national leadership has recognized the importance of this industry to its future. The kingdom already enjoys the flood of Muslim humanity that visits each year to complete the Hajj, and tens of thousands more are visiting Saudi Arabia for pleasure- and educational-related tourism as well. To ensure this growth continues and expands in the future, the proposed study intends to identify ways that soft power methods can be used to help overcome any lingering doubts about the kingdom in the minds of international visitors.

References

Dennis, C., & Harris, L. (2002) Marketing the e-Business. London: Routledge.

Espisito, J.L. (2002) What Everyone Needs to Know about Islam. New York: Oxford University

Press.

Gearon, E. (2006, August-September) 'After the pilgrimage: Every year approximately two million people enter the…

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