Volume 24, Issue 1, Spring/Summer 2004
Patrick T. McCormick
The Good Sojourner
Third World Tourism and the Call of Hospitality
International tourism has grown twenty-eight-fold since 1950, bringing one-fifth of its 698 million annual arrivals to developing nations. The industry is the second largest source of foreign exchange for the world's poorest forty-nine nations, and developing nations account for 65 percent of the 200 million jobs created annually by tourism. But half of tourist dollars leak back to the developed world, and tourism workers earn 20 percent less than employees in other sectors. Meanwhile, a flood of First World tourists threatens to exhaust local resources, and sex tourism enslaves millions of women and children. Before hospitality was a $4 trillion industry, it was a biblical mandate to aid the needy. Yahweh commanded Israel to extend hospitality to the alien (Lev. 19). Jesus demanded a radical hospitality to outcasts (Luke 14). And the early church saw hospitality as basic to discipleship (1 Tim. 3:2). In a setting where contemporary travelers have much more wealth and power than their hosts, the "good sojourner" is called to practice a hospitality that preserves and sustains the environment while protecting the rights, culture, and heritage of indigenous peoples.