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 Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People

People on the Move

N° 104, August 2007





Q.   Archbishop Marchetto, the annual World Day of Tourism will be held on the 27th of this month. What is the topic this year?

A. The World Day of Tourism was first held in 1980. Our Pontifical Council has taken part in it from the beginning with a pastoral aim in view; we encourage its celebration in local Churches all over the world. The general topic this year is ‘Tourism,  opens doors for women’. In our special message for the occasion we point out that the sensitiveness of women and their adaptability can find ample expression in tourism at all levels from humble every-day jobs to high posts of responsibility. In fact I would add, in the words of our message, that “women’s gifts of creativity, their inclination towards hospitality, and their ability to be in tune with the thoughts of others help them to have insight into the tastes and aspirations of tourists”.  

Q.  Is tourism an open door for women?

A. The various sectors of the tourist industry, which is constantly evolving, provide employment for over two hundred million persons. This is a real driving power in the economy and a great job-provider. This is of particular interest in the case of women, because the International Labour Office (ILO) estimates that more and more women are without work. Then there is another thing we must not forget: women represent a very high percentage of the poor in this world and they suffer inequality compared with men both as regards working conditions and pay. 

Q. What contribution can the Pontifical Council make to help women?

A. Our Council carries out intensive studies about the situation of women affected by “human mobility” and we do all we can to promote their capacities and gifts; at the same time we are careful to safeguard their dignity, security and their basic freedoms. I must, however, add that our field of action is essentially pastoral.

Certainly for a woman, employment in the tourist sector means a heavier work burden, a new way perhaps of being a mother and many difficulties that are accentuated by the ebb and flow of tourist traffic, which often means seasonal work with stressful working hours and shifts. We emphasise, however, the pastoral work that is possible for women, and which in fact already exists in favour of tourists. We acknowledge this and hope that it will spread. 

Q. In what way is the Church engaged in helping women?

A. I would say that we take on the evangelical task of inspiring confidence and increasing their awareness of their capacities, dignity and identity as women. Pope Benedict did the same when he affirmed, “I believe that women themselves, with their drive and strength, with what you might call their preponderance, with their spiritual potency, will be able to secure a place for themselves”[1].

Then certain Religious Congregations are in the forefront in sustaining and helping women and young girls in the matter of work and formation and in trying to help all those who are willing to find their way back to a life of dignity, often lost by force of circumstances. Here we have the drama of sex tourism.


[1]  Benedict XVI, Interview in L’Osservatore Romano, No. 190, 19th August 2006, p.5.