Cardinal Antonio Maria Veglio, president of the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Itinerant Peoples, published a message regarding the celebration of World Tourism Day which will take place on September 27th, 2013. The theme of this year’s World Tourism Day is “Tourism and water: protecting our common future” which is line with the International Year of Cooperation for Water proclaimed by the UN General Assembly.
“The Holy See also wishes to join in this commemoration, bringing its contribution from its own perspective, aware of the importance of the phenomenon of tourism at the present time and the challenges and opportunities it provides to our mission of evangelization,” Cardinal Veglio wrote. “This is one of the economic sectors with the largest and fastest growth in the world. We must not forget that last year it was exceeded the milestone of one billion international tourists, to which we must add the even higher figures of local tourism.”
Emphasizing the importance of water as both an “asset and a resource”, Cardinal Veglio stated that this year’s theme invites tourists to promote ecotourism, which would aid in promoting jobs and supporting local economies.
“There is no doubt that tourism plays a fundamental role in preserving the environment, by being one of its great ally, but also a fierce enemy. If, for instance, in order to achieve a quick and easy economic profit, the tourism industry is allowed to pollute a place, this location will cease to be a popular destination for tourists,” Cardinal Veglio said.
“The sustainable management of this natural resource is a challenge for the social, economic and environmental order, but especially because of the ethical nature, starting from the principle of the universal destination of the goods of the earth, which is a natural and original right, to which it must be submitted all the legislation relating to those goods. The Social Doctrine of the Church highlights the validity and application of this principle, with explicit references to water.”
The president of the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Itinerant People conveyed the importance tourism has in regards to water management, saying that the mismanagement of resources should not “burden others as well as future generations.”
Concluding his message, Cardinal Veglio stated that both entrepreneurs and politicians, while aware of the challenges in the issue of water, should put more specific commitments into practice.
“This situation requires above all a change of mentality leading to adopt a different lifestyle marked by sobriety and self-discipline,” Cardinal Veglio stated. “We must ensure that tourists are aware and reflect on their responsibilities and the impact of their trip. They must be convinced that not everything is allowed, although they personally carry the economic burden. We need to educate and encourage the small gestures allowing us not to waste or pollute the water and, at the same time, help us appreciate even more its importance.”