Tourism Needs Evangelizing Action, Says Cardinal

BANGKOK, Thailand, JULY 8, 2004 ( Tourism is contributing to greater understanding among peoples, but it needs the “Church’s constant evangelizing action,” says a Vatican official.

Cardinal Stephen Fumio Hamao, president of the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travelers, delivered that message at the 6th World Congress on the Pastoral Care of Tourism here.

He said the congress “had one clear intention: namely, to make known the Church’s special concern for the countries that receive tourism, especially the developing countries.”

He told the 110 participants from 35 countries that “tourism’s contribution to the social and economic development of countries is unquestionable. … However, the difficulties raised along the way and the errors committed are also evident. For this reason, tourism, as a part of all human reality, needs the Church’s constant evangelizing action and God’s healing grace.”

Archbishop Agostino Marchetto, secretary of the pontifical council, underlined two areas the three-day congress had planned to emphasize: social tourism and the fight against sexual exploitation in tourism.