Here's a link to an interesting article which questions the policy of boycotting countries that have the death penalty, when considering holiday destinations. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/feb/17/why-i-wont-b etc ...
Part of the article
I found myself wondering if Brits and Americans boycotting Australia as a protest to successive government treatment of our Indigenous people would have an effect on policy. And then I think of what the country would lose if that actually happened.
National stereotypes are made and moulded abroad. They’re a shortcut to understanding and by their nature are hackneyed and generalised.
By visiting Australia, tourists from all over the world realise that not all Australians are racist and not all our politicians are cut from the same cloth as Sir Les Patterson (although in the current political climate the attempt to rid ourselves of that particular stereotype is proving difficult).
Still the best way to discover the nuance in national cultures is to visit those countries and interact with local people.
People travel for all kinds of reasons. Some just want a beach holiday in a resort that serves food they already know where the beers are cheap and the hospitality friendly. They really wouldn’t leave home but these developing countries are so much cheaper – with guaranteed sunshine.
But mostly when we travel we can’t help but absorb some of the local culture and return home with a deeper understanding of another way of life.
Greenwald himself now acknowledges the limits of travel boycotts, telling Radio National that it is “very, very difficult to be effective” because boycotts have to be widespread, and even then they’re not always guaranteed to have an economic or political impact.
And then I’m back to my trip to Iran where I learned so much about that country’s rich culture and history. Where I ate a raw onion like an apple after a meal of kebab and rice to “balance” the meal. Where I listened to Haafez’s poetry recited in Persian and felt I understood what it meant. Where I was apologised to every day for the burden of having to wear the hijab (mostly by men). Where I was invited to stay in a stranger’s home because I happened to be sitting next to her on the bus. Where I cried in response to a stranger’s kindness and then had my visa renewal disapproved because a member of the tourist police decided it wasn’t safe for a young woman (I was 34) to travel alone. Every culture contains deep contradictions.
How can we ever truly begin to understand each other if we don’t go where we fear, or we only travel to places that have policies we like? What a sad and lonely world that would be.