The Holy See
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Seoul (Korea)
Tuesday, 25 September 2001

I would like to offer the Holy See's greetings to all of the participants here today.

As John Paul II wrote in the message given during the 22nd Day of the World Tourism Organization, the topic chosen makes us reflect on a piece of extremely significant data: "The tourism industry reveals how the world is: evermore global and evermore interdependent".

There is a very strong link that ties tourism, cultural patrimony, natural patrimony and moral values. However, perhaps it is "diversity" that is man's essential patrimony.

The most qualifying aspect of tourism is the great variety of ecosystems, traditions, and costumes present on the earth. Everything is closer now in this era of globalization, of communication and of Internet. Tourism fits perfectly into this context as one of the fundamental means of entering more deeply into an "interactive" dialogue between the various continents.

However, it is important when preparing for a journey to keep the following values in mind: respect and understanding of the different, and often not similar cultural and social traditions to be found there.

These are the reasons behind the evermore pressing need for a concrete application of normatives for tourism, which present universally shared rules such as those found in the recent Global Code of Ethics for Tourism. This is one of the thematics that will be discussed and analyzed in this Assembly. On this subject, the possibility of an acknowledgement of the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism from the United Nations becomes an important conquest.

The Holy See has always underlined the importance and the utility of the cultural objectives of this sector, and the necessity to sustain and defend ethical, spiritual and religious values present in this context.

In reference to this, a policy is needed for public interest which exceeds purely private interest that prevails more often than not and damages natural development of tourism.

Therefore, particularly important ethical duties are incumbent towards the people of some countries who fully expect their rights to be respected by tourism. In this way the tourist nourishes the need to acquire a "knowledge awareness" of the places and of the people in which he will come into contact with, and of the contribution that he can offer to the development of the places visited.

Tourism changes the world and reflects its reality. This is the vow that should come from this Assembly where personal and private interests should yield to the common welfare of all nations.

Apart from the rhetoric of the topics, a great reality will stand out: a model and terms of comparison exist, interpreted by the recent Global Code of Ethics for Tourism.

The Holy See wishes that this most qualified Assembly will pledge itself to tasks that will be capable of making a decisive change in the world of tourism.

A lack of attention towards these vows would serve only to increase the large social differences that are at the base of conflicts among populations, and develop a world of profit that cannot in any way be useful towards affirming a healthy tourism.

This Assembly has all the possibilities needed to promote these instances, which are the only valid ones that can qualify tourism as a meeting place among various cultures.

Thank you for your attention!