The Holy See
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Thursday, 9 May 2002 



I am very happy to participate in this reunion and interesting seminar.

The typology of tourism has become more enriched in the past few years, as has a certain appreciation coming from institutions, but what is curious to notice is that an activity such as tourism, a source of monetary earnings and of dialogue among populations, does not receive the attention it deserves from the political world.

Tourism can be linked to congressional activities, sports activities, thermal spa, mountain climbing, cultural activities and to the religion.

The European tourist patrimony covers all of these kinds of tourism.

The consideration and the rediscovery of a consciousness of a shared patrimony is an important factor nowadays. This qualifying aspect has been proposed many times in the General Assemblies and in the Regional Commissions.

The European tourism patrimony is surely a fundamental resource for this continent and has up to now served to re-evaluate its common roots, its similarities, but also the wealth and beauty behind the diversities in European traditions.

The same unification process going on at this moment on this continent, must certainly recognize the contribution offered by tourism to the integration in Europe.

What we are evaluating today makes up an enormous patrimony of great cultural value, which should be above all developed both on an image level, as well as on an international promotion level.

In this meeting, I underline the necessity in maintaining the principals of a development for a sustainable tourism that respects the environment.

This reminds me that the great reality of ecological tourism is confirmed by the success of the initiatives promoted by the celebration of the International Year of Ecotourism.

Although the recent crisis due to the tragic events of September 11, in some countries rural tourism has maintained and developed the presence of tourists and financial earnings.

It is hopeful that the institutions increase the promotion of the reality of regional tourism more efficiently, as can be seen by the mass-media.

Political specifics and targeted projects which move inside a common project should be strengthened, especially on an old continent full of great traditions such as that of Europe.

Rediscovering the awareness of a common patrimony of cultural value means to increase the consciousness of belonging to a common home, and in this way, finding the way for a renewed union and a renewed harmony.

Thanks for your attention!