VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 26, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Tourism can promote authentic human development, states a papal message sent on the occasion of World Tourism Day, to be observed Wednesday.
The message was sent in Benedict XVI’s name on Sept. 8 by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, a week before he retired as Vatican secretary of state.
The message, addressed to Francesco Frangialli, secretary-general of the Spain-based World Tourism Organization, encourages reflection on this World Day as “tourism is above all an affair of human beings."
“The enrichment that it can produce must not be, therefore, simply economic or material,” notes the message. “Tourism can promote an authentic human and social development thanks to the growing opportunity it offers for a sharing of goods, for rich cultural exchanges, for approaching natural or artistic beauty, for a comparison between different mentalities, traditions and religions.
“Traveling enriches the human spirit when one sets out to discover something new, when one is drawn to know the answers that others have given to the great questions of human existence.”
The message continues: “Especially in our time, tourism appeals to the human person who wants to grow in knowledge and to experience how men and women are the bearers of civilization and of good. …
“[It is] desirable that states, associations of tour operators, academic and cultural institutions and unions of the tourist sector encourage the formation of specific competences and then offer dynamic guarantees for the welcoming of tourists.”
It adds: “It is equally important to develop a persuasive program of education for the values of tourism in relation to and in defense of the persons, the communities and natural and cultural goods of the hosts.
“Only thus will the new marketplaces of tourism and leisure become resources for true human enrichment for all without excluding those who come from underprivileged conditions on account of their natural or social and cultural origin.”