Set to take place in Sorrento, Italy from 27 June to 3 July, the Summit will bring children and youth from every global region together, giving them a platform to share their vision and hopes for the sector. In line with UNWTO’s commitment to youth empowerment, the initiative will also allow participants to network with leaders from the worlds of politics and business, making them a part of the decision-making process as tourism fulfils its potential as a driver of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Welcoming the first participants, UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili emphasized that “tourism is a proven source of opportunity for young people – in cities and in rural communities, from every educational background and in every global region.”

Tourism is a proven source of opportunity for young people – in cities and in rural communities, from every educational background and in every global region

Minister of Tourism Garavaglia added: “Young people can play a major role in overcoming the crisis facing the tourism sector. They can also be an active agent of recovery and change and play a leading role in the transition to a more sustainable tourism, which is an essential if we want to achieve sustainable development. We are all looking forward to welcoming you to wonderful Sorrento.”
The young participants were also greeted by the UNWTO Ambassador for Responsible Tourism and celebrated football star Didier Drogba, who encouraged them to be the protagonists of tourism’s future and wished them all the best for the upcoming activities.

Online learning and sector-wide expertise

The launch of the Global Youth Tourism Summit coincides with the European Year of Youth. The GYTS series will include several webinars during which the participants will to learn about tourism and sustainability, culture and gastronomy, innovation and climate action, and other relevant topics.
The Italian national tourism agency (ENIT) and the regionof  Campania joined forces with the Ministry to support the implementation of the first edition of the Global Youth Tourism Summit. Private stakeholders, including the Global Tourism Economy Research Centre and Bella Vista Institute of Higher Education, have also recognized the importance of the initiative.

Against the backdrop of the BIT travel trade show in Milan, UNWTO Director for Europe Alessandra Priante joined representatives of the project partners to share more details of the landmark Summit. The inaugural event will be held around the theme of International Sustainable Tourism. The program will include interactive activities oriented towards the Sustainable Development Goals and how they interact with tourism, during which participants will learn how to build a sector that combines sustainability, culture, gastronomy, innovation and climate action.

Empowering the next generation

The Global Youth Tourism Summit is a unique platform to celebrate and empower the next generation of tourism leaders

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili says: “The Global Youth Tourism Summit is a unique platform to 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.” UNWTO Director for Europe Professor Priante added: “Tourism offers opportunities to the youth. But youth gives tourism the opportunity to become stronger and more resilient. We are extremely proud of the first generation of GYST-ers, who already show their promise and commitment to transform tourism – starting from their local communities.”

High-level participation

In Milan, the organizers confirmed that several Italian Ministries will be involved (education, foreign, south), as will a number of key UN institutions, including FAO, UNICEF and ITU. The Summit will bring together major international players convened by UNWTO, including the Global Tourism Economy Research Center of Macao, the Bella Vista Institute of Higher Education in Switzerland, the Azerbaijan National Tourism Agency, Hilton International, Mastercard Europe and MSC Crociere. Confirmed institutional guests will include Commissioner Gabriel, the UN’s ENVOY for YOUTH Jayathma Wickramanayake, some of the UNWTO Ambassadors for Responsible Tourism Valeria Mazza, Didier Drogba, Gino Sorbillo and many other international VIPs and influencers.

Hosts anticipate ‘unique experience’

“A moment of osmosis between past, present and future can only benefit Italy which is being reorganized and reborn. We believe in the contribution and enthusiasm of the generations of tomorrow, not only for the lessons they can teach us and for the necessary comparison of what will come next, but also because new opportunities arise from this dialogue, not only in terms of tourist offerings, but also in terms of tourist training,” says Enit President Giorgio Palmucci.

Felice Casucci, Councillor for Tourism of the Campania Region adds: “The institutional chain must be compact at a time when it is necessary to have a broad vision and focus on young people for a great international message of peace. Sorrento is a unique opportunity to put together a highly recognized tourist destination with a narrative that is open to the territorial contexts and regional identity values among the most exclusive and attractive in the world.”

The Mayor of Sorrento, Massimo Coppola says: “Our city is honored to host the first edition of Global Youth Tourism. The objective of the event is to bring participants, selected and from all over the world, to live a unique experience, promoting the comparison and ensure that the new generations can pursue the mission of environmental sustainability. To animate it will be young people aged between 12 and 18 years, who will confront themselves and contribute to the definition of the World Tourism Agenda 2030.”

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