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STATEMENT OF THE PERMANENT OBSERVER
OF THE HOLY SEE TO THE WORLD TOURISM ORGANIZATION
ON THE OCCASION OF THE INTERNATIONAL SEMINAR
ANALYSING THE PROBLEMS OF ETHICS IN TOURISM*

Tel Aviv
Thursday, 21 September 2000

 

As the Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the World Tourism Organization, I am honoured to take part in this important W.T.O. meeting. Since the topics of the Seminar are linked to the ethics of tourism, it of course involves the Holy See, which has always been interested in problems dealing with man.

The Governments have fully accepted the instances for analysing the problems of ethics in tourism and all that has led to the elaboration of the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism. We hope that it will be accepted by the legislations of all countries involved.

This seminar reflects the willingness of everyone involved in making this Code operative and in contributing to the diffusion of these rules of behaviour valid for tourists, the host countries, and for the people working in this sector. The Holy See is careful when discussing and reaffirming values; above all values that strengthen ties among people, such as dialogue, reciprocal understanding of each other, and the respect of cultural and religious traditions.

At this point I cannot continue without talking about a particular type of tourism, and that is, pilgrimage. The Church defines pilgrimage as " a personal or collective path towards a sacred place, aspiring to encounter the divine." In other words, pilgrimage is a spiritual itinerary, the path of the faithful, the search for God. I would like to make two brief observations at this point:1. This search for the divine, for God, cannot be done under the guidance of people of another religion, and 2. The pilgrim must be guaranteed full liberty in regards to entrance and to veneration in the places which are tied to his faith.

In the light of these principles, which are necessary in realizing a sustainable tourism, peace and prosperity cannot be far away. As important as commercial and economical interests may be, it is more important that the elements of aggregation and social stability come out in tourism. These aspects are truly necessary in the development of any kind of economic market. The growth of globalization in almost all economic sectors has lead us to the acceptance of common rules and to the elaboration of an ethics system to be shared by everyone. The Global Code of Ethics for Tourism, a true synthesis of the ethical values in the tourism sector, interests all Countries.

The general aim is oriented towards strengthening the wholesomeness of tourism, which is the bearer of values. Among these values are, respect for the environment, peaceful living together of ethnic groups, and the widespread choice of a path towards peace. Tourism, reciprocal understanding and peace, are inseparable realities. The Global Code expresses a profound hope of peace, which is essential to the development of the tourism sector. In order to sustain this goal, it expresses a common ethical consent so that people of all the world can gather, even if of different cultures or different religions. The Holy See bids that this Seminar will be able to give a real contribution to the target that it wants to reach.

Thank you for your attention!


*Document de la Mission Permanente du Saint-Siège auprès de l'Organisation Mondiale du Tourisme, Rome.

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