Published on : Wednesday, August 2, 2017
With Rome and other parts of the world preparing for their August holidays, the Vatican has urged tourists to respect environment and human welfare in their travels, treating people and things with respect.
Cardinal Peter Turkson said, “Holiday time cannot be a pretext either for irresponsibility or for exploitation: in fact, it is a noble time in which everyone can add value to one’s own life and that of others.” The Catholic Church supports the idea of “sustainable tourism” promoted by the UNWTO.
“This means that it must be responsible, and not destructive or detrimental to the environment nor to the socio-cultural context of the locality. Moreover, it must be particularly respectful of the population and their heritage, with a view to safeguarding personal dignity and labor rights, especially those of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable people.”
The message was sent by Cardinal Turkson, for the occasion of World Tourism Day, which will be celebrated Sept. 27, 2017.
According to the World Tourism Organization, in 2016, the number of international tourist arrivals was around 1.2 billion. Worldwide, the sector accounts for 10 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and seven percent of total exports. Tourism gives rise to one in every 11 jobs.
Turkson said, sustainability is promoted under three dimensions, “the ecological, aiming for the maintenance of ecosystems; the social, which develops in harmony with the host community; and the economic, which stimulates inclusive growth. We must ask ourselves, he continued, how these principles can be practically applied to the development of tourism. “What are the consequences for tourists, entrepreneurs, workers, governors, and local communities? It is an open reflection.”
The Church is also making her contribution, he noted, including with initiatives that place tourism at the service of the development of the human person.