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One Billion Tourists, One Billion Opportunities

Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples Releases World Tourism Day Message

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The Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples released a message for World Tourism Day, which will be observed Sept. 27.

The document was signed by Cardinal Antonio Maria Veglio and Bishop Joseph Kalathiparambil, President and Secretary of dicastery, respectively.

Reflecting on the theme “One billion tourists, one billion opportunities”, the document aims to address the opportunities and challenges of the increase in tourism. According to the document, there were globally some 1 billion tourists in 2012 and the number continues to rise.

“This growth launches a challenge to all the sectors involved in this global phenomenon: tourists, businesses, governments and local communities and, of course, the Church too. The billion tourists should necessarily be considered above all in their billion opportunitiesI,” the document states.

“We are in a phase of change in which the way of moving is changing and consequently the experience of traveling as well. Those who go to countries different from their own do so with the more or less conscious desire to reawaken the most hidden part of themselves through encounter, sharing and confrontation. More and more, a tourist is in search of direct contact with what is different in its extra-ordinariness.”

Citing Pope Francis’ recent encyclical, Laudato Si’, the message said that the Holy Father’s invitation to speak “the language of fraternity and beauty in our relationship with the world” is the correct approach towards people and places visited.

The message continued by stressing the importance of businesses and their commitment to the common good. “The final objective should not be profit as much as offering travelers accessible roads to achieving the experience they are looking for. And businesses have to do this with respect for people and the environment,” it stated.

Governments, the document continued, are also called to contribute, respecting current laws and creating new ones that “protect the dignity of individuals, communities and the territory.” It went on to stress that civil authorities are also called to create socio-economic networks that favor local communities and travellers.

Regarding the role of local communities in tourism, the message encourages them to welcome those who come from other countries and are “moved by a thirst for knowledge, a unique occasion for reciprocal enrichment and common growth.”

“Giving hospitality enables the environmental, social and cultural potentialities to bear fruit, to create new jobs, to develop one’s identity, and to bring out the value of the territory,” the statement read.

The message also stated that the Church has an opportunity to evangelize in the world of tourism.

“Faithful to her mission and starting from the conviction that “we also evangelize when we attempt to confront the various challenges which can arise”, the Church cooperates in making tourism a means for the development of peoples, especially the most disadvantaged ones, and setting in motion simple but effective projects.”

However, the message stressed that the Church must also not forget to defend “personal dignity, workers’ rights, cultural identity, and respect for the environment.”

The message concluded saying that tourism provides an occasion for all to “voyage into an existential experience.

“The tourism sector can be an opportunity, indeed, one billion opportunities for building roads to peace too. Encounter, exchange and sharing favor harmony and understanding,” it stated.

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On ZENIT’s website:

To read the full message, go to:

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Junno Arocho Esteves

Newark, New Jersey, USA Bachelor of Science degree in Diplomacy and International Relations.

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