The UNWTO Secretary-General, Zurab Pololikashvili, has appointed the legendary soccer star Lionel Messi as Ambassador for Responsible Tourism.

Considered by many the best soccer player of all time, Lionel Messi joins the World Tourism Organisation to promote the value of responsible tourism, following a ceremony last Saturday at Camp Nou in Barcelona, after the F.C. Barcelona – Leganés match.

“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 Organisation as a specialised 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 Messi.

Messi is the first soccer player in history to have won five Ballon D’Or  – the first four won consecutively – and four European Golden Shoes. He 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 has 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.

Lionel Messi joins the Spanish soccer player Fernando Hierro and the mythical Spanish coach Vicente del Bosque, as the first personalities appointed by the UNWTO to advance the links between sports and tourism and promote the transformative power of responsible tourism.

Photo – top of page – UNWTO Secretary-General, Zurab Pololikashvili with soccer star Lionel Messi