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Tourism should foster culture of encounter, safeguard planet, Vatican says

The theme of the 2021 celebration is "Tourism for Inclusive Growth. The Person Behind the Data"

Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service

Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service

Published: September 17, 2021 06:23 AM GMT

Updated: September 17, 2021 06:29 AM GMT

Tourism should foster culture of encounter, safeguard planet, Vatican says

People walk by St. Peter's Square in the Vatican on July 14, 2021. (Photo: AFP)

Tourism needs to protect both people and the planet as well as promote a more inclusive economy, the Vatican said.

People need to support "an inclusive approach to tourism and resist the temptations of individualism and nationalism that are too common in our contemporary society," said the Vatican's message for the Sept. 27 celebration of World Tourism Day.

"Only in this way can we avoid the 'variant' of the virus that spreads when we foment a sick economy that only allows a few very rich people to possess more than all the rest of humanity, and when production and consumption models destroy the planet," it said.

The message, signed by Cardinal Peter Turkson, prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, was published in English and Spanish on its website Sept. 13.

The theme of the 2021 celebration, which was chosen by the World Tourism Organization, is "Tourism for Inclusive Growth. The Person Behind the Data."

The cardinal wrote that the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development wanted to "recognize the significant impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the business and workers engaged in the tourism sector, especially part-time, low-paid workers who qualify for governmental subsidies, and those workers who now find themselves without any economic support."

Pope Francis has encouraged Catholics and all people of goodwill "to go beyond the numbers to meet the person in difficulty; to exercise that creativity which enables one to find solutions to an impasse; to invoke reasons of human dignity in facing the rigidity of bureaucracy and promote the social and economic well-being of the whole of humanity," Cardinal Turkson wrote.

"We need economic systems that give everyone access to the fruits of creation and the basic necessities of life: land, lodging and labor," he wrote.

Integral human development is "development for every person, for all the dimensions of the person, that respects the earth, our 'common home,'" he wrote.

Therefore, for World Tourism Day, the dicastery was encouraging everyone to support the kind of tourism that "allows for encounters between people and in diverse places, where the admiration of beauty can foster respectful lifestyles for others and the planet," he wrote.

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"We appeal to bishops and those responsible for safeguarding tourism to maintain close collaboration with local authorities in order to ensure a tourism that respects people and nature and that promotes a just and inclusive economy. In this way, tourism can help build a world in which the full potential of each human being can be reached," the message said.

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