The Holy See
back up



Thursday, 29 January 2004


I am happy to take part in the first world conference on communications in the field of tourism.

In this new millennium it is necessary to build a new model of development in tourism which is based on quality, competition and sustainability.

Quality and professionalism are fundamental elements in the tourism industry. These elements also regard the communications sector, which must be transparent and honest when promoting tourism.

Competition between countries is inevitable. To be competitive the information given to tourists cannot limit itself to the simple monumental and landscape aspects. Therefore, it is necessary that the information given is not superficial, but culturally valid and fulfils the expectations of the clients.

Today we hope that this type of attention is given to communication. As a matter of fact, the present course of globalization has caused even more various demands.

The "on-line" tourist market which is in constant growth requires more tourist promotion abroad. The "web" offers the possibility to "travel" virtually; to visit receptive locations and structures.

Dynamism and specializations are the future for communications in tourism. For this reason, the users of internet look for qualified and updated answers to their requests. They look for fast and specific navigation sites and they look for tips, advice and product comparisons.

It is for these reasons that the need for respect towards clients must be underlined. This respect can be reached through the values of quality and transparency. These values cannot be eliminated in this sector where the liberty of telematics communications cannot always be unlimited.

There is a type of on-line information for tourists that increases the diffusion of the disgraceful pedofile market and of the so-called sexual tourism.

Sex-tourism has expanded enormously, also by means of telematics, which at times can favour the sexual exploitation of children because it makes it difficult to identify the authors of such crimes.

The freedom inside the web and inside the entire media system is not an inviolable taboo, because it too, has to confront itself with the necessity of a criticism consideration of human values, among which, the respect of human dignity.

The role of communications and of communicators, especially in the field of tourism, cannot evade the consideration of an ethical responsibility, not only because communications carry out a central role in transmitting ethic values, but because the communicators are entrepreneurs and make up part of the business community.

They must respect a professional deontology built on completely honest manners. All of this, even if there are some problems due to a communicative technology, which is evolving too quickly and seems to be out of man's control.

At the moment, it seems like technology is not at man’s service any more, but that it is governing man. Today, reflecting on the famous phrase of MacLuhan, "the medium is the message", it is finally clear what he wanted to say: the means becomes the aim of the communications, while concepts and ideas take on a secondary role.

Communication in the world of tourism cannot become deflated on such a perspective: tourism is a moment of formation of the person and must feed on ideas and content. It involves interests and expectations that go way beyond the simple desire of getting away. The tourism industry, for example, presents itself nowadays as the sector potentially the most fit to contribute positively towards the struggle for the reduction of poverty in the so-called "Third World Countries". It is hoped that there will be a renewed enthusiasm by the international community which has been always involved in the front line of the struggle against poverty on Earth.

Through aimed strategies and specific policies, the tourism sector can become the turning key to this struggle, which must absolutely be won.

Thank you for your attention!