By Christopher Wells
The Prefect for the Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development, Cardinal Peter Turkson, has penned a Message for World Tourism Day, which takes place each year on 27 September.
In his Message, Cardinal Turkson reflected on the theme for this year’s observance: “Tourism and Digital Transformation.” This theme, he said, focuses on how digital technology has transformed our age and our behaviours.
Because of this, he said, World Tourism Day, “invites us to reflect on the contribution of technological progress not only to improve tourist products and services, but also because this progress is part of tourism’s sustainable and responsible development, towards which the growth of the sector should be oriented.”
The Church, he continued, “has always paid particular attention to the pastoral care of tourism, leisure and holidays,” which allow women and men to share their values and ideals, and to grow as individuals.
Tourism is also an important way to share resources, but also to “educate people on the shared responsibility towards our “common home.”
Cardinal Turkson also had a “special thought” for young people, who are at the centre of the upcoming General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops. The working document, he noted, discusses how “it is necessary to offer them paths for formation and anthropological education, so that they may live their ‘digital life’ without separating online and offline behavior, nor allowing themselves to be deceived by the virtual world.”
Finally, Cardinal Turkson said, “The hope that this Dicastery formulates for all, tourists and vacationers, is ‘that tourism will contribute to glorifying God, and to increasingly validating human dignity, mutual knowledge, spiritual brotherhood, refreshment of body and soul.’”