The World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) have announced a new partnership around their shared values and a common vision for the future.

The leaders of both organisations met at the UEFA headquarters, in Switzerland, 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 recognised the values shared by tourism and football, both prominent people-led sectors with the capacity to promote understanding, friendship and solidarity and to drive social and economic change.

Shared objectives

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 (taking place in July 2022 in 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 take the tourism industry forward. 

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said: “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.”

UNWTO and UEFA will work together to grow sports tourism across Europe, including facilitating travel and mobility and through promoting the opportunities for jobs and education. Both organisations will also jointly champion sustainability within their sectors.

The agreement emphasises the far-reaching impact of both tourism and sports. Both sectors are leading employers and champions of youth empowerment and gender equality. They are also advancing hard to meet their climate action responsibilities.

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