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TTC Special: Tourism: Young people preparing to take command

Picture: UNWTO

by Frank Martin

World tourism is unifying forces in in order to ensure that restoration of the sector after the Covid-19 pandemic be the best possible, and to achieve such success it believes that young people are essential.

From such concepts emerged the First World Youth Summit on Tourism, convened by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), for Sorrento, Italy from June 27 to July 3 last.

The meeting attracted some 150 young people between the ages of 12 and 18 and belonging to 60 countries.

Among them World Tourism Organization will look for promoters and even leaders of the tourism industry in coming years of intense work and much-needed initiatives after big tensions left behind by the pandemic.

The Secretary General of the UNWTO, Zurab Pololikashvili, stated when announcing the event that global youth tourism will thus “empower” the next generation of tourism leaders.

“It will help build a lasting legacy by providing young people with skills and knowledge they need to transform tourism not only in their communities but around the world.”

This month’s Summit was organized through six masterclasses, in addition to two evening talks, a simulation of the UNWTO General Assembly and interactive sessions.

These digital initiatives enabled participants to interact directly with the United Nations and with tourism ministers and other high-level officials from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Croatia, Germany, Georgia, Albania, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Maldives, Spain, Montenegro , Sao Tome and Principe, Yemen and many other UNWTO Member States, it was reported.

The agenda included topics such as innovation and digital transformation of tourism, aspects of virtual tourism and opened a debate supervised by the World Food Forum on solutions to reduce food waste in tourism.

An aspect considered important by the organizers was that representatives of MasterCard and the Hilton Group were present on behalf of the private sector, who were also sponsors of the event.

The conference also received greetings and virtual participation from Pope Francis, actress Sophia Loren, Eliza Jane Reid, First Lady of Iceland and UNWTO Ambassador, and the President of the United Nations General Assembly, Abdulla Shahid.

The summit allowed important steps forward in its objective of promoting young people.

In this context, the Sorrento Action Plan, approved by the summit and described as “a bold and innovative vision for young people to actively participate in the recovery and growth of tourism as a pillar of sustainable and inclusive development”, were exceptional.

This project was structured by analyzing the criteria of the attendees. The young people did not exclude other challenges such as plastic pollution, climate change or the preservation of biodiversity.

They addressed issues of prosperity, reducing poverty, improving digital skills and creating more job opportunities, all ideas included in the Sorrento Action Plan.

Italian Tourism Minister Massimo Garavaglia said that Italy was the proud host of this first event and encouraged the young participants to become the responsible travelers of tomorrow and remain optimistic to make their dreams come true.

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