Benedict says tourism important in promoting dialogue and mutual respect between cultures

.- At the conclusion of his General Audience in St. Peter’s Square today, Pope Benedict XVI took a moment to comment on the World Tourism Day, which is celebrated today.

The Pope said, in his special remarks to Italian speaking pilgrims, that World Tourism Day is “a very important social phenomenon in today's world,” and that, “tourism would promote dialogue and mutual respect between cultures, more all the time, thus becoming a door open to peace and harmonious co-existence."

Yesterday the Vatican released a letter, written by former Sectrary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano, saying that, "tourism is an undisputed source of well-being because it helps to drive the economies of nations.”  

The Cardinal continues, noting that "in the reciprocal welcome between visitor and host one can realize that exchange of the goods of the earth and of culture which renders human life more fraternal and united."

Sodano also notes the insistence of the World Tourism Organization, that “tourism is above all an affair of human beings.”

“The enrichment that it can produce must not, therefore, be simply economic or material," rather it must "promote an authentic human and social development thanks to the growing opportunity that it offers for a sharing of goods, for rich cultural exchanges, for contemplating natural or artistic beauty, for a comparison between different mentalities, traditions and religions," the cardinal said.
However, he said, “In order for this to be possible, it is necessary that all individuals and groups active in the tourism sector ‘encourage the formation of specific competencies and then offer dynamic guarantees for the welcoming of tourists.’” 

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