More than 130 young people will attend the inaugural UNWTO Global Youth Tourism Summit in Sorrento, Italy, next week, providing them a rare opportunity to shape the direction of the industry.
The UNWTO is in charge of planning the historic occasion, which is being held in Italy in cooperation with the Ministry of Tourism and the National Tourism Agency (ENIT). Global youth between the ages of 12 and 18 will be brought together with leaders from several industries, including politicians and notable people from the sports, culinary, entertainment, and innovation industries. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the Department of Youth Policies, and the President of the Republic of Italy’s Medal have all given their support to the Summit.
According to UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili, “the Global Youth Tourism will celebrate and empower the next generation of tourism leaders. It will help build a lasting legacy by providing young people with the skills and knowledge they need to transform tourism not only in their communities but everywhere”.
The Summit, which is scheduled to take place from June 27 to July 3, will include six Masterclasses, two evening talks, a simulation of the UNWTO General Assembly, interactive sessions, and high-level representatives from the United Nations, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Croatia, Germany, Georgia, Albania, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Maldives, Spain, Montenegro, Sao Tome and Principe, Yemen, and other UNWTO Member States.
“The Italian government is proud to host the first World Youth Tourism Congress in Sorrento. We are confident that ideas and proposals will emerge that can advise governments on how to improve the global tourism offer and make it closer to the needs of new tourists”, said Massimo Garavaglia, the Italian Minister of Tourism.
UNWTO Director for Europe Alessandra Priante added: “Tourism gives opportunities to young people. But young people give tourism the opportunity to become stronger and more resilient. We are extremely proud of the first generation of GYTS-ers, who are already showing their promise and commitment to transform tourism, starting from their local communities”.
With a particular emphasis on the sector’s role in fulfilling the UN 2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals, the Summit will concentrate on some of the major problems and possibilities now confronting global tourism (SDGs). The MSC Foundation and Marevivo will work together for a thorough examination of biodiversity. To experience firsthand how tourism is assisting in the protection of coastal regions and biodiversity, participants will go on an excursion to the Marine Protected Area at Punta Campanella. The MSC Foundation will provide an overview of the significant role played by the cruise industry for local and national economies, which will be supplemented by a deeper study of maritime and navigational skills.
The Summit will also include a special session on online security, organised in partnership with another UN agency the ITU (International Telecommunication Union), as well as a talk on virtual tourism and the Metaverse, organised in partnership with Meta, reflecting UNWTO’s broader focus on innovation and the digital transformation of tourism. In addition, the World Food Forum will have a discussion on how to cut down on food waste in the tourist industry (facilitated by the UN’s agricultural department, FAO).
UN Youth Envoy Jayathma Wickramanayake, UNWTO Ambassadors of Responsible Tourism Valeria Mazza, Didier Drogba, Gino Sorbillo, and Pilar Rodriguez are among the foreign speakers scheduled to participate in the GYTS. Leading representatives from the event sponsors, Mastercard and the Hilton Group, will speak for the private sector. His Holiness Pope Francis, Sophia Loren, Eliza Jane Reid (First Lady of Iceland and UNWTO Ambassador), Diego Simeone, Fernando Hierro, Qu Dongyu, Abdulla Shahid, the President of the United Nations General Assembly, and Mariya Gabriel, the European Commissioner in charge of youth, will all address participants virtually. Pansy Ho, an entrepreneur and UNWTO ambassador, will also participate digitally. She will explore the importance of innovation in the tourist industry and share her own experiences in the travel and tourism industry.