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 Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People

People on the Move

N° 96 (Suppl.), December 2004




Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports





Your Eminence

Your Grace, the Apostolic Nuncio

Excellencies, Reverences and Distinguished Guests

I am very pleased and feel much honored that the Pontifical Council for Tourism has invited me to address the "VI World Congress on the Pastoral Care of Tourism" today.

It is well known that tourism is a very important sector of the economy which yields great yearly income to the countries having tourism resources. Tourism is one factor which can alleviate people from stress and enables them to learn experiences through an exposure to what not being seen in one's own country. It is regretful, however, that in this current situation of economic progress and advanced technology, the interrelationship among men is being diminished. People are less and less understanding one another, less coming to contact with nature. As the consequences, tourists lack a good awareness of being good travelers; not respectful to the nature and culture of the host country; tourism is aimed at only physical pleasure and conveniences without any regards toward the spiritual value, often times going against morality causing a lot of problems as a result.

As far as Thailand is concerned there has been a great attempt in solving tourism problems. We have promoted conservation tourism with a project called: "Young Creative Traveler", i.e. traveling without destroying the environment, preserving tourism places, learning nature and new sight. The target group of this project is the youth. It is a way to instill their awareness to love and conserve nature and the environment in order that they may be maintained forever. Besides, the 2004 national marketing plan also focuses on more distribution of income to the tourism localities due to the fact that traveling is a movement of resources from one place to another, meaning that the community of the place of tourism, including those along the traveling route to the locality, will gain an additional income, which can, in a way, reduce poverty. Thailand does not only develop tourism for the economic perspective but also makes proposal of Thai goods with innovative ideas plus other interesting things that tourists have never seen before, be it in the dimension of nature, culture, architecture, history, ancient sites, etc., all of which are of great value to spirituality.

For this Congress it is pleasing to learn that there are representatives from 31 countries including Thailand who are directly involved with tourism, who come to discuss about the problems of tourism so as to find the means for the solution in order to make tourism more worthwhile. It is a great honor for us that the Pontifical Council for Tourism has chosen Thailand as its venue for this Congress. We will welcome all of you with a warm friendship during your stay here.    I personally believe that this Congress will be successful and attain all its objectives.

May I take this opportunity in conveying all my best wishes to you. May you find peace and happiness forever. I now declare the opening of the "VI World Congress on the Pastoral Care of Tourism.