Tourism development should be ‘with’ the community

Church’s Emigrants Commission calls for sustainable and ethical tourism in disadvantaged areas

The Church’s Emigrants Commission today called for sustainable and ethical tourism in disadvantaged areas, underlying the role that local communities play in the defence and promotion of their natural and cultural heritage.

In a message issued by the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples for World Tourism Day 2014, the Church emphasised the link between community development with the concept of integral human development characteristic of the social doctrine of the Church, and highlighted that human beings are the custodians, not the owners, of creation.

“Responsible tourism may offer human and economic enrichment to its protagonists, also favouring values such a mutual respect and tolerance,” the Commission said.

The Pontifical Council said that tourism development, is not to do something “for” the community, but rather, “with” the community.

“Furthermore, a tourist destination is not only a beautiful landscape or a comfortable infrastructure, but it is, above all, a local community with their own physical environment and culture,” it said.

The Pontifical Council said it was necessary to promote a tourism that develops in harmony with the community that welcomes people into its space, with its traditional and cultural forms, with its heritage and lifestyles.

“And in this respectful encounter, the local population and visitors can establish a productive dialogue which will promote tolerance, respect and mutual understanding.”

This year’s World Tourism Day theme, organised by the World Tourism Organisation, is Tourism and Community Development.

 

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