The Pastoral Diocesana Algarvia and the National Work of Pastoral Tourism (ONPT) mark today, September 27, the "World Tourism Day" with two messages that reflect on the theme proposed this year for the celebrations of this date: "Tourism and Water : protect our common future”.
The messages draw attention to the importance of water for Christians as a symbol of rebirth and purity and as a source of life on earth.
Attention is also drawn to the need to educate future generations for the preservation of this resource and, in the case of Pastoral Diocesana algarvia, some of the most important connections of water to tourism in the algarve, as well as to religiosity are identified. of the Algarve.
The Diocesan Ministry of Tourism has its own website, where it provides information on the Algarve's religious heritage.
This working group of the Algarve Church (which is represented on the board of the ONPT by its coordinator, Father Miguel Neto) has been a pioneer in addressing these issues related to tourism, having carried out on November 24, 2012 a training action for guides and agents tour, on “How to Visit a Church”.
« WORLD TOURISM DAY 2013
ALGARVE, LAND OF SEA, LAND OF WATER, LAND OF FAITH
World Tourism Day 2013 is marked on 27 September. This year, the proposed theme – “Tourism and Water: protecting our common future” – intends to fit in with the Declaration of the United Nations (UN) that defines 2013 as the International Year of Cooperation in the Field of Water.
It is intended to give particular emphasis, in the various celebrations and reflections proposed for this day, the role that Tourism can play as an activity that enhances access to water and the conservation of water resources on our planet.
In fact, water is one of the most essential goods we have and, in many parts of the world, it is scarce and with very limited access.
Water is a symbol of freshness, transparency, freedom and truth. It is, above all, a sign of life, since without it nothing on earth survives, whether animals or plants.
For Christians, water is a sign of rebirth to new life in Christ, because through it, in baptism, we wash away our sins and enter, with a pure heart, into the community of the Sons of God.
However, in the Algarve, a region whose southern and western border is the Atlantic Ocean and the eastern border is the River Guadiana, water plays an even more significant role:
>>It is what guarantees the existence of a regular tourist activity of the greatest importance for the local and national economy, as the sun and sea product is what makes the hotels, restaurants and all the small businesses on the coast move.
Since the 60s of the XNUMXth century, this activity has gained particular importance, transforming the Algarve in different ways: its urban planning and territorial planning, its economic management, investment priorities, contact with people of many nationalities, in short, the entire identity of the people of this region became indelibly linked to this action.
>>It is the sea – hence, the water – that since the time of the first settlements in the region, has guaranteed the livelihoods of the communities.
Fishing is, without a doubt, alongside agriculture, the oldest of the ways of earning a living that the Algarve has carried out.
And we must also remember the industries – such as the canning industry -, which have always employed many people in the Algarve and are, of course, also linked to the existence of fishing.
>>Other water courses – such as the Arade River or the Guadiana River – have also always proved to be decisive in defining the territory and in the emergence of urban spaces.
In this very specific context, there are many manifestations of faith typical of the people of the sea:
>>There are several maritime processions, where the images leave on decorated vessels, asking for the protection of the fishing community (see the cases of the festivities in honor of N. Senhora dos Navegantes in Armação de Pêra and in Culatra/Tavira; or the festival da Senhora da Orada, in Albufeira).
>>There is a particular devotion to St. Peter, the disciple of Jesus who stopped being a fisherman, to become a fisherman of men and guide the Church, as its first leader (in Quarteira, for example, there are parties in honor of this Saint and a Church built in his honor).
>>There is a great devotion to Our Lady, namely to some invocations that the maritime communities had as protectors of her work.
This is the case of Nossa Senhora da Graça, Nossa Senhora dos Aflitos or Nossa Senhora da Boa Viagem (there are festivals that mark these Marian evocations in Armação de Pêra, Sagres, Lagos, Alvor, known precisely for their traditions linked to the work of the sea).
The Algarve is, therefore, a land of sea, a land of water, a land of faith. Remembering these traditions is also to ensure that these resources and the identity of the Algarve is preserved. It is to ensure that Tourism can continue to promote unique experiences for those who travel and that, as stated by the Secretary General of the WTO, Taleb Rifai, in the official message for World Tourism Day 2013, can take the «leadership and ensure that companies and destinations invest in adequate water management throughout the value chain”, thus continuing to “find innovative solutions to ensure sustainable access to water resources in the world”.
In this sense, the Diocesan Ministry of Tourism continues to work to make known the religious traditions of the Algarve region and to preserve and promote all the heritage that is a good and a value for Algarve Tourism».