Pope says tourists must not harm the planet

/ Source: The Associated Press

Pope Benedict XVI has urged tourists to respect the environment and local cultures, touching again on a theme that has earned him a reputation as the “green pope.”

Benedict says tourism depends greatly on pristine environments and the industry is among the first to suffer from the “improper use” of natural resources and the “abuse of the culture” of local populations.

The pope made the comments Saturday at his summer residence of Castel Gandolfo near Rome as he received two groups that promote sustainable tourism. The meeting marked World Tourism Day, which this year focuses on how the industry can respond to climate changes.

Benedict has made frequent calls to save the planet, and the Vatican is adding solar power to some buildings.