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Travel writers can create positive perceptions of the world.

Summary: Saudi travel writer urges people to use their travel experiences to dispel cultural misconceptions and bring people closer

Staff Report

Dubai: It is the responsibility of travel writers to change the perception among people about other peoples and countries - and it is a challenge, according to Abdullah Al Jumah, author and travel writer from Saudi Arabia.

Talking about 'The Great Challenge' in the 14 minutes for Good segment forum on the final day of the Arab Media Forum, Al Jumah said young people should be encouraged to travel far and wide, to know the culture of others, rather than as pleasure seekers.

"The challenge as a travel writer is to change the perception about other cultures and peoples. For example, when I go to countries like Colombia or less travelled countries, everybody thinks it is dangerous. Then I go there and share my experience and write about their culture. My followers on social media started appreciating them and showing interest in visiting those countries," he said.

"Usually, I travel six to eight months a year and, during my trips, especially to some far-off countries, I encounter many challenges and I share my stories with my followers. I meet people from those far-away countries, to know their way of life and culture from close quarters.

"To remove misconceptions about some countries and people is a challenge. But, when I write about them, it actually helps people to know other cultures better. In fact, I make them come out of their comfort zone and prepare to accept others.

"I also know that I am building bridges between cultures through social media. It is not an easy job to do, but I get encouraged by my followers. Now I am planning a trip to Central Asia, Mongolia, up to Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan and Russia and to India and later to Sub-Saharan Africa," Abdullah said.

"I also encourage young people to undertake travel as a traveller and not as a tourist. It will be a different experience all people should try occasionally as it gives them a chance to explore the host country and their culture," he said.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Date:May 11, 2016
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