The Kolkata Statement: Theological Perspectives on Tourism

Caesar D’Mello

In March, 2011, a "Theological Consultation on Tourism" took place in Chennai, India, led by the Ecumenical Coalition on Tourism (ECOT)and organised in collaboration with the National Council of Churches in India (NCCI). It was followed by an international consultation "Theology of Tourism"in Kolkata inNovember 2013, organised by Senate Centre for Extension and Pastoral Theological Research (SCEPTRE), Serampore (University).

The participants have published their contributions in the book “Deconstruction Tourism – Who benefits?” which reflects theologically on the learning gained from years of investigation and collaboration through a shared experience of this industry’s impact on the Global South. Over thirty years, the German churches and community have enabled visionaries and activists from around the world to challenge and deconstruct mass tourism from the perspective of the marginalised. Today, a whole variety of groups including churches, non-governmental organisations, academics, and others concerned continue to scrutinise globalised mass tourism and its inherent injustice. The role of the German people in stimulating these efforts, which have inspired this unique publication, is gratefully acknowledged.

The consultation also published the ‘Kolkata Statement’ which highlights major impacts of tourism and urges churches, theological institutions and those concerned about tourism to criticise unjust tourism structures, study the potential of tourism as ‘pilgrimage’, challenge the media messages and tourism advertising, study the link between tourism and climate justice, empower the church to promote just tourism, and respond to tourism issues in an inter-faith context.

Further information: "Deconstructing Tourism: Who Benefits? A Theological Reading from the Global South". Edited by Caesar D’Mello, Wati Longchar, Philip Mathew. Published by the Programme for Theology and Cultures in Asia (Tainan) and SCEPTRE (Kolkata), 2014. Available at:

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