The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) today announced their partnership around shared values and a common vision for the future.
The leaders of both organizations met at the UEFA headquarters and agreed to jointly promote the benefits of sports and sports tourism for development and opportunity for all, including young people. UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili and UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin recognized the values shared by tourism and football, both prominent people-led sectors with the capacity to promote understanding, friendship and solidarity and drive social and economic change.
UNWTO and UEFA will work to deliver a legacy across Europe. The UEFA Foundation will join representatives of the different divisions of UEFA at the UNWTO Global Youth Tourism Summit (July 2022, Sorrento, Italy), designed to give young people a say in the future of the sector and to give them the skills and knowledge needed to lead tourism forward.
UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili says: “Tourism and football are natural partners, bringing joy to many millions with benefits going far beyond vacations or single matches. Working together, UNWTO and UEFA will build on our potential to celebrate our shared humanity, foster friendship across borders and create experiences and opportunities for people everywhere.”
UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin added: “Sports tourism is one of the fastest-growing tourism segments. And tourism and football, as the world’s most popular sport, uniquely complement each other. Sporting events, such as UEFA EURO and UEFA Women’s EURO, are making an exceptional contribution to tourism in the host countries. More importantly, football offers teams and supporters a chance to travel the world, discover new destinations and cultures. I cannot think of a better way to learn more about each other, grow together rather than drift apart.”
Jobs and education
Under the new partnership, UNWTO and UEFA will work together to grow sports tourism across Europe, including through facilitating travel and mobility and through promoting the opportunities for jobs and education this can bring. Both organizations will also jointly champion sustainability within their sectors, in line with the wider United Nations Agenda for Sustainable Development as well as the UEFA Sustainability Strategy 2030.
The agreement emphasises the far-reaching impact of both tourism and sports, touching on almost every part of economies and societies the world over. Both sectors are leading employers and champions of youth empowerment and gender equality. Under the guidance of UNWTO and UEFA, tourism and sports are also advancing hard to meet their climate action responsibilities.