Cordoba, Spain, 29 October 2007 - Secretary-General's message to the International Conference on Tourism, Religions and the Dialogue of CulturesI am delighted to convey warm greetings to all participants in this International Conference on Tourism, Religions and the Dialogue of Cultures. The venue of Cordoba, with its unsurpassed cultural, religious and historic heritage, offers an auspicious frame for exploring the dimensions of tourism and religion in intercultural dialogue. I thank the authorities of Spain for their unrelenting endeavour in advancing the dialogue of civilizations.
The universal longing for peace and mutual understanding, coupled with the legitimate aspiration for prosperity and economic development, are common values of humanity shared by all societies. In a global environment marked by rising intolerance and cross-cultural tensions, often exacerbated by the economic divide between nations, tourism can foster spiritual and cultural respect among and between peoples, while creating economic opportunities to benefit disadvantaged populations.
That is why your conference is so important, and has the potential to strengthen and enhance the United Nations initiative for an Alliance of Civilizations. I am delighted that you will be joined by His Excellency Mr. Jorge Sampaio, High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations, and Mr. Federico Mayor Zaragoza, former Director-General of UNESCO.
I strongly support the work of the United Nations World Tourism Organization, our most recent specialized agency, to promote peace and mutual understanding through the responsible and sustainable development of tourism. I commend UNWTO's Global Code of Ethics for Tourism, which includes guidelines for reaching that goal.
Through your joint efforts, tourists and visitors can become the connecting thread between cultures, bring economic development to remote or depressed regions, and reduce prejudice, distrust and hostility. In that spirit, I wish you a most productive conference.
Statements on 29 October 2007