"Savage Tourism" Endangers Environment, Says John Paul II

Urges an Ethical Variety to Help Development

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VATICAN CITY, JUNE 25, 2002 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II proposes “ethical” tourism as a “key to sustainable development,” in his message for the 23rd World Tourism Day.

In the text, published today by the Vatican Press Office, the Pope warns against the ecological disasters of “savage tourism.”

“How can one deny that humanity is presently experiencing, unfortunately, an ecological emergency?” the Holy Father asks in the message sent to tourist agents, tourism ministers, and tourists worldwide. World Tourism Day will be observed Sept. 27.

“A certain savage tourism has contributed, and continues to contribute to it, due to the fact that tourist spots have been built without respecting the environmental impact,” the Pope states.

This phenomenon is due to decisions made according to special interests “that do not respond to the needs of the very dignity of the human being,” the Holy Father explains. “Frequently, the unbridled desire to accumulate wealth prevails, which hinders hearing the alarming cry of poverty of whole nations.”

Given these abuses, the papal message calls for “forms of tourism that are more respectful of the environment, more moderate in the use of natural resources, and more in harmony with the local cultures.”

According to the Pope, “ecological tourism” is “ethical” when “it is based on the conviction that the environment is everyone´s home and, therefore, the natural resources are for those who live in it and for future generations.”

The papal text urges Christians in particular to make tourism “an occasion of contemplation and meeting with God, Creator and Father of all, and thus be confirmed in the service of justice and peace, in fidelity to the One who has promised new heavens and a new earth.”

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