Considered by many the best football player of all times, Lionel Messi joins the World Tourism Organization to promote the value of responsible tourism. The UNWTO Secretary-General, Zurab Pololikashvili, appointed Messi as UNWTO Ambassador for Responsible Tourism this Saturday at Camp Nou in Barcelona, after the match F.C. Barcelona – Leganés.
“During my travels I have had the opportunity to know other cultures and societies as well as others ways to see the world and this is very enriching. The World Tourism Organization as a specialized Agency of the United Nations works to make tourism a source of development and I am happy I can join this mission of promoting responsible tourism”, said Lionel Messi.
Lionel Messi is an example of talent and constant work in football. Messi is admired all around the world not the least due to the positioning he brought to the F.C. Barcelona in recent years, team with which he won a total of 30 titles, including eight Spanish Leagues, four Champion Leagues and five King’s Cups of Spain.
“Messi is a unique sportsman and an example of how willpower and constant work yield good results. It is a great honour to have Messi joining UNWTO and other well-known personalities in promoting the positive values and benefits that tourism represents” said Zurab Pololikashvili.
Messi is the first football player in history who won five Ballon d’Or – the first four won consecutively – and four European Golden Shoes.
Lionel Messi joins the Spanish football player Fernando Hierro and the mythical Spanish coach Vicente del Bosque, as the first personalities that UNWTO appoints to advance the links between sports and tourism and promote the transformative power of responsible tourism.
World’s Most Disruptive Sports Tourism Start-Ups Celebrated at Global Tourism Economy Forum
The growing sports tourism sector took centre stage at the Global Tourism Economy Forum in Macau, SAR with the first ‘SPORTSTECH’ edition of the World Tourism Organization’s Tourism Tech Adventures initiative celebrating the most disruptive ideas and innovators from around the world. This served as the ideal backdrop to determine the winner of the 1st UNWTO Sports Tourism Start-up Competition, launched with the Barca Innovation hub of Football Club FC Barcelona and supported by the Qatar National Tourism Council.
As the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) reports that rising numbers of tourists are travelling for sports or wellbeing, the competition was launched the with aim of identifying supporting start-ups that excel in a number of ways, including their potential for scaling-up and ability to help contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
Within the framework of the Global Tourism Economy Forum, five finalists from the 1st UNWTO Sports Tourism Start-up Competition were invited to Macau for a special masterclass on pitching and attracting investment. The finalists faced-off in a “Start-Up Battlefield” following sessions focused on the future of sports tourism and the potential for disruptive technologies to create value for tourism.
UNWTO General-Secretary Zurab Pololikashvili, opened the Tourism Tech Adventure event, highlighting the United Nations agency’s strong support for innovation, said: “Tourism and sport create decent jobs, promote local culture and provide opportunities for SMEs and entrepreneurs. Sports tourism can also contribute to creating peace, sustainability and inclusiveness, building bridges between different countries and cultures. UNWTO welcomes innovation in this niche sector and congratulates all today’s finalists on their vision and determination.”
The other finalists that beat off strong competition from hundreds of start-ups from around the world to make it to Macau, were:
Flyfoot (Lebanon)- Fly-Foot is the first online
platform where football fans can book all- inclusive travel packages to watch
their favorite teams play with just a few clicks and fosters local football
Inclusive Society Led by Persons with Disabilities (Japan) – a travel agency specialized in adapting travel and sports to individuals with limited mobility to increase social inclusion.
Oevit (United States of America)- one-stop-shop solution for experience ecosystems. Oveit combines near field communication and biometric payments, audience engagement, loyalty programs, access control, registration and (e)ticketing.
WeFish (Spain)- Offers a fishing application which is interactive, simple and social – developed by fishers for fishers.
Regulation Catches up with Innovation: The Case of Short-Term Rentals
The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has published the first systematic overview of how both national governments and local authorities are addressing and managing new business models in the accommodation industry. The so-called “sharing economy” has experienced significant growth over recent years and is poised to outpace the growth of traditional accommodation. Drawing on case studies from around the world, “New Business Models in the Accommodation Industry” analyses existing rules and regulations for the sector.
Drawing on 21 global case studies, the new UNWTO report notes that most of the measures implemented refer to areas of ‘fair competition’ and ‘consumer protection’, specifically measures related to taxation and registration and permits In comparison, measures relating to ‘planning and sustainability’, are less commonplace. At the same time, the report highlights the challenges destinations face in implementing rules and regulations, with a lack of local capacity and a lack of clarity over whose responsibility it is to monitor and regulate short-term tourist accommodation.
Commenting, UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said: “There are significantly more regulations than we thought and it is encouraging to see destinations taking the initiative. However, many challenges remain, including the practical implementation of rules and regulations relating to the short-term tourist rental market. Good governance and effective cooperation between the public and private sectors are key to successfully meeting these challenges.”
Case studies analysed for the “New Business Models in the Accommodation Industry” include European countries such as the Netherlands, Italy and Spain, which are home to some of the world’s most popular cities for tourists, as well as countries in the Americas such as Mexico and from across Asia as is the case of Japan.
The report was produced with the support of the Secretariat of Tourism of Mexico.
U.S. Moves Closer to World Tourism Organization with Landmark Meeting
A high-level delegation from the United States Department of State has met with head of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) as the country moves closer to rejoining the United Nations specialized agency for tourism.
Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs Kevin Moley and Assistant Secretary for Economic and Business Affairs Manisha Singh were welcomed by UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili, following up on the announcement that the USA is exploring rejoining UNWTO, of which it is a founding member. The two parties enjoyed productive discussions as the terms of membership are being finalized.
This is the highest level visit of a US delegation to the UNWTO headquarters registered so far. In June of this year, the United States used the occasion of the UNWTO Executive Council meeting to confirm it is exploring the possibility of rejoining, stating that “the UNWTO offers great potential to fuel economic growth in the U.S. tourism sector, create new jobs for American workers, and highlight American travel destinations”.
UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashili underscored that “it is extremely encouraging that the United States has clearly signaled its intention to rejoin UNWTO and support tourism as a key driver of job creation, investments and entrepreneurship and safeguarding natural and cultural heritage the world over”.
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