In its message for World Tourism Day, marked on September 27 this year, the Vatican’s Dicastery for Evangelization calls for a greater commitment to sustainable investments, as a testimony to the faith that nature has been entrusted to us by God.
By Christopher Wells
The Catholic Church wants to take this “moment of special commitment to itself so that the magisterium of Pope Francis can increase in a more effective and positive way the care for creation, an essential goal of human life,” writes Archbishop Rino Fisichella in a Message for this year’s World Tourism Day (September 27).
The annual commemoration is organized by the United Nations World Tourism Organization, with the 2023 day dedicated to highlighting “the need for more and better targeted investments for people, for the planet and for prosperity.”
It also serves as a “call to action for the international community, governments, multilateral financial institutions, development partners and private sector investors to unite around a new tourism investment strategy.”
In his message released on Friday, Archbishop Fisichella – the pro-prefect of the Dicastery for Evangelization’s section for fundamental issues concerning evangelization in the world – highlights the Pope’s call for a greater commitment to sustainable investments.
He also notes that “favoring sustainable investment is also a testimony of faith, which is based on respect for creation, created and entrusted to us by God.”
Promotion of human dignity
Significantly, Archbishop Fisichella insists that sustainable economic activity should promote human dignity with a focus on long-term benefits rather than short-term gains.
Policy, he says, must support creative new paths and distinguish appropriate projects “that aim for the good of all and increase the quality of life,” especially for the most marginalized.
Investing in and preserving cultural and spiritual investments
The message also highlights the value of art and culture and their preservation “because they enable people to know God and keep Christian roots alive.”
Archbishop Fisichella writes, “The Way of Beauty is an integral part of our mission to proclaim the Gospel and promote the spiritual growth of the faithful,” adding that the duty to protect culturally significant works of art “is everyone’s responsibility.”
Responsible tourism and care for our common home
Finally, the Archbishop reiterates the link between tourism and care for creation, noting that “tourism that respects the person and the environment opens the way to grasp the goodness of the Father, who reaches out to everyone with his love.”
In this regard, he notes that workers in the tourism sector have the opportunity to promote a different kind of tourism, one that is “more supportive and less consumerist; more respectful of nature and able to contemplate beauty in its many expressions.”
Finally, as we look ahead to 2025, Archbishop Fisichella expresses his hope that the preparation for the upcoming jubilee year can be “celebrated and lived with this care for creation, while holding fast to the hope of building the future together.”