Czerny: yes to sustainable tourism without exploitation

In the message for today’s World Tourism Day, the prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development invites a change of course in the name of an ever more equitable tourist activity and suggests to focus on “proximity tourism” to appreciate the “treasures of heritage, cuisine, folklore, and even spirituality that neighboring regions have to share”

Vatican News

The Church looks at the rebirth of tourism with the eyes of hope. On the occasion of today’s World Tourism Day 2022, the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, in a message signed by its prefect, Cardinal Michael Czerny, invites us to “Rethink tourism”, as indicated by the theme of the day . Tourism has certainly been one of the “human activities most severely affected” by the crisis dictated by the pandemic, writes the Vatican prefect, but now it can become one “of the engines of the reconstruction of a more just, sustainable and integral world. The Church, therefore, “looks at the rebirth and renewal also of tourism with the eyes of hope”, inviting us to refer, for the restart of tourism, to those principles that inspired the World Code of Ethics for Tourism, fundamental elements, the message reads, “for the construction of fraternity and social friendship, but above all for the service of integral human development”.

The reference to Christians

A change of course is urgently needed, is Czerny’s indication, in order to be able to “get better out of a crisis that has revealed so many inequalities and injustices”, for this reason “tourism must be carried out according to principles of equity and social transformation”. Hence the proximity to the operators of the tourism sector “who already act according to a right conscience” and have built professionalism and lives “around hospitality”. In the message, therefore, reference is made to those entrepreneurs who are attentive “to the most vulnerable and to workers exposed to exploitation, in particular to seasonal personnel who perform humbler tasks in the service of tourists”. The call to Christians is therefore to “make a covenant with all women and men of good will, because this must change”.

Rethinking tourism

To restart it is necessary to calculate the impact that tourism has on the environment, a “very relevant” figure, according to the cardinal. To date, he says, the need to “focus on local tourism has become very evident: knowing how to look around, recognize and appreciate the treasures of heritage, cuisine, folklore, and even spirituality that the neighboring regions have to share”. For this reason, local policies today can be rethought “in terms of hospitality and quality of life for the historic inhabitants, the newcomers, the closest neighbors”. A more sustainable tourism will also have to be recalibrated, underlines the head of the dicastery, “in the direction of a correct relationship between human beings and creation”, since the sustainability of tourism is also measured “in the impact on biodiversity of natural and social ecosystems”, because “Protection of biodiversity and amazement at the wonders of creation must coexist in ‘rethought’ tourism”. Faced with the opposite resistance, which favors the reduction of spaces for inclusion and the standardization of content, it is necessary to oppose a tourism that always has in mind the “integral vision of the person”, which is not, explains Cardinal Czerny, quoting Pope Francis , a theory, but “a way of living and acting”, in the encounter with a different culture, with its history and with the values ​​it holds, thus regenerating a community, “fostering dialogue between local cultural languages ​​and styles of visitors’ life “.

Keep the torch of hope alight

The Catholic Church, Cardinal Czerny observes, “is very keen to promote this renewed vision of tourism, with a view to integral human development”. A method of listening and participation is represented by the synodal process, which could bring “even in civil society and economic organizations, a greater aptitude for the composition of conflicting interests and points of view”. Today’s challenges will be faced during the work of the VIII World Congress of the Pastoral Care of Tourism, in Santiago de Compostela from 5 to 8 October 2022, an event entitled Tourism and pilgrimages: paths of hope. “We look with hope at the liveliness of the sector to all the people involved and to those who have responsibility for it”, is the invitation of Cardinal Czerny who, taking up the words of the Pope, encourages everyone to “keep the torch of hope burning”.

Czerny: yes to sustainable tourism without exploitation – Vatican News