Pope FrancisHis Holiness Pope Francis has sent a historic message of support to UNWTOs first Global Youth Tourism Summit.

As the Summit gets underway in Sorrento, Italy, His Holiness called on young participants to make the most of the unique opportunity to develop the knowledge and skills they will need to build a better future for tourism and for their home communities.

The experiences that you will make in Sorrento will be enshrined in your memories, Pope Francis said. This is how you will grow and will be prepared to assume more important roles. I wish that you will be messengers of hope and of rebirth for the future. I send you my blessings and my greetings.

His Holiness also welcomed the young participant’s commitment to peace and solidarity. For the Summit, a landmark first for the sector and for UNWTO as it prioritizes youth empowerment and education and training, around 130 students from 60 countries, will take part in a series of workshops, debates and discussions. Participants are aged between 12 and 18 and include a delegation from Ukraine.

The Global Youth Tourism Summit celebrates and promotes the role that young people will play in shaping our sector in the years to come Empowering global youth UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili adds The Global Youth Tourism Summit celebrates and promotes the role that young people will play in shaping our sector in the years to come.

By giving them the knowledge and the tools they need to lead the sector forwards, participants can act on Pope Francis’s welcome words and become ambassadors of tourism for peace and solidarity. UNWTO has enjoyed a long and productive relationship with the Holy See, which has held observer status to the Organization since 1975. In 2019, Secretary-General Pololikashvili enjoyed an official visit to the Vatican to meet Pope Francis, using the occasion to highlight tourism’s essential role in eradicating poverty and promoting peace.

Written by: Matthew Thomas