World Tourism Day: Vatican highlights need for ‘green’ investment

In its message for World Tourism Day, marked on 27 September this year, the Vatican's Dicastery for Evangelization calls for a greater commitment to sustainable investments, as a witness to the faith that nature has been entrusted to us by God.

By Christopher Wells

The Catholic Church desires to take in this “moment of special commitment, so that Pope Francis’ magisterium may increase in a more effective and positive way the care of creation, an essential objective for people's lives,” writes Archbishop Rino Fisichella in a Message for this year’s World Tourism Day (27 September).

The annual commemoration is organized by the UN’s World Tourism Organization, with the 2023 Day dedicated to highlighting “the need for more and better-targeted investments for people, for planet and for prosperity.”

It also serves as “call to action to the international community, governments, multilateral financial institutions, development partners and private sector investors to unite around a new tourism investment strategy.”

In his message released on Friday, Archbishop Fisichella – the Pro-Prefect of the Dicastery for Evangelization’s Section for Fundamental Questions regarding Evangelization in the World – highlights the Pope’s call for a greater commitment to sustainable investment.

He notes, too, that “favouring sustainable investment is also a testimony of faith, which is based on respect for creation, created and entrusted to us by God.”

Promoting human dignity

Significantly, Archbishop Fisichella insists that sustainable economic activity should promote human dignity, focusing on long term benefits, rather than short-term gain.

“The primacy of ethics cannot be obscured by the thirst for profit.”

Politics, he says, must support creative new paths and discern appropriate projects “that aim at the good of all, and increase quality of life,” especially for the most marginalized.

Investing in and preserving cultural and spiritual investments

The message also highlights the value of art and culture and their preservation “because they enable people to know God and keep Christian roots alive.”

Archbishop Fisichella writes, “The path of beauty is an integral part of our mission to proclaim the Gospel and promote the spiritual growth of believers,” adding that the duty to protect culturally significant works of art “is the responsibility of all.”

Responsible tourism and care for our common home

Finally, the Archbishop reiterates the connection between tourism and care for creation, noting that “tourism that respects the person and the environment opens the way to grasping the goodness of the Father who reaches out to all with His love.”

In this regard, he notes that workers in the tourism sector have an opportunity to promote a different kind of tourism, one that is “more supportive and less consumerist; more respectful of nature and capable of contemplating beauty in its multiple expressions.”

Finally, looking ahead to the 2025, Archbishop Fisichella expresses his hope that the preparation for the upcoming Jubilee Year can be “celebrated and lived with this care for creation, while holding firmly to the hope of building the future together.”