(Bratislava) – Development and support of ecclesial and religious tourism is the aim of a Memorandum of collaboration recently signed by the President of the Forum for Tourism Viliam Sivek and the President of the Czech Bishops’ Conference Cardinal Dominik Duka. According to the cardinal, open churches are the symbols of ecclesial tourism and a culturally rich Church: “Our culture was born in churches and that is why our history is the history of a cultural nation. Tourism introduces the beauty of our land and its spiritual message. This is why it is important to keep churches and ecclesial monuments open to the public”. In the past years, profit from tourism in the country has equaled profit from the automotive industry, which requires a more coordinated approach and strategy to respond to all chalenges. “We are convinced that the spiritual and religious aspect of tourism represents an integral part of our history and is a living message for young generations with a great potential for the future”, Viliam Sivek affirms, pointing to the importance of the memorandum between the Church and the Forum for Tourism. The General Secretary of the Bishops’ Conference, Stanislav Pribyl, recalls the phenomenon of pilgrimages: “It is crucial not only to arrive to our destination, but also to enjoy the journey towards it. Our cultural landscape is made up by every cross and every chapel standing along the way, and all these monuments need to be preserved with responsibility and kept alive in the sense of promoting their spiritual power”.