Archbishop Rino Fisichella, the Pro-Prefect of the Dicastery for Evangelization, released the message for World Tourism Day on Sept. 27. This year’s reflection focuses on how tourism can be aligned with Pope Francis’ encyclical on ecology, Laudato Si’, especially since the World Tourism Organization proposed the motto “Tourism and Green Investment” for the celebration of the 44th World Tourism Day.
The note focuses on the importance of six key areas of action that are highlighted in Pope Francis’ letter, which go hand in hand with the UN’s sustainable development goals:
(1) Sustainable Investment for the Protection of Creation;
(2) Christian Hospitality,
(3) Sustainable Economy and Human Dignity,
(4) Cultural and Spiritual Investment and Preservation;
(5) Responsible Tourism for a Common Home; and
(6) The Importance of Tourism Operators.
Fisichella notes how Laudato Si’ stresses the need to commit to these goals: “Investments have also been made in means of production and transportation that consume less energy and require fewer raw materials, as well as in methods of construction and renovating buildings which improve their energy efficiency. But these good practices are still far from widespread” (n. 26).
“Fostering sustainable investment,” Fisichella goes on, “is also a witness of faith that is made strong by respecting nature, created and entrusted to us by God. Indeed, concern for creation and its preservation also belongs to the biblical message. One need only open up the first page of Sacred Scripture to highlight this dimension. God’s creative action is, first and foremost, an expression of his outpouring love that intends to reach its culmination by involving man and woman in the same project.”
Tourism opens minds
Announced during the World Tourism Day celebrations in Riyadh, the “Tourism Opens Minds” initiative will showcase the powerful role that tourism plays in bridging cultures and promoting a more interconnected and harmonious world. This new global initiative is designed to unite and encourage nations, tourism sector leaders, and consumers to be more open-minded when choosing a travel destination.
Fisichella noted that the Christian community can “work alongside the various responsible organizations […] to express the welcoming sense that characterizes the spirit of our communities by virtue of the faith lived out.”
The Pro-Prefect explained that “in a cultural context where there is an excess of indifference, it is crucial that Christians be witnesses of a welcome that makes people feel comfortable and allows them to experience fraternity. Entertaining dialogue, taking an interest in making sure the vacation is an experience of peace, facilitating ways that enable people to have the Gospel in their hands, or readings that awaken interest in prayer and spirituality, are some ways that help give meaning to the vacation time.”