Cultural activities have been used to maintain relations between nations, people and organizations for thousands of years. Early explorers, travelers, artists and traders acted as informal ambassadors when interacting with people from other countries whether they were aware of it or not. Think of how certain groups of tourists can viewed negatively(Americans being loud, Israelis as party animals) in different countries. Culture creates narratives of people and places that can drastically alter opinions and feelings.
Cultural Diplomacy is the art of influence through cultural engagement. Rather than coercion or payment, one is achieving their goals through mutual attraction to shared ideals. When starting our business in Medellín, many locals suspected that we would cater to the drugs and prostitution that so many foreigners had sought when coming to the city. Instead, by showcasing local culture through music and dance performances, we were able to brand ourselves as a new type of foreign tourism business and subsequently gain the trust and respect of other local businesses.
The role of Cultural Diplomacy within tourism and foreign tourist businesses is the primary focus of this website. Anybody can be a cultural diplomat depending on the way that they travel and it is my hope that by seeking out cultural authenticity and supporting sustainable tourism, people can bring a net positive to the communities that they are visiting.