28 September 2023 | in FISU
On the personal invitation of Mr. Kamil Bortniczuk, Minister of Sport and Tourism of Poland, FISU Acting President Leonz Eder and FISU Secretary General/CEO Eric Saintrond were panelists in the second European Congress of Sport and Tourism 2023 held in Zakopane. FISU Polish Vice-President Marian Dymalski also attended the Conference.
Leonz Eder took part in the discussion about “Organization of great sporting events as an impulse for development – how great sporting events affect social and economic development”, while Éric Saintrond intervened in “Sports diplomacy – sport as an area of international diplomacy”. Both panel discussions were broadcasted live on Polish National TV.
Like the other four panelists, Eder highlighted the relevance of sport in tourism and mentioned that FISU had been carrying out impact studies for a long time to confirm and validate the different benefits that sport events bring to a city, a region and also a country.
He highlighted topics such as the economic impact, the appeal of the destination, the infrastructure development and also the cultural and educational exchanges which go along with big sport events.
“Besides the community engagement and effective promotion and marketing work, a tourist destination may appear more frequently on the global map, if the city or the region it is associated with repeatedly bids for international events,” Leonz Eder said.
Zakopane hosted two Winter Universiades, in 1993 and 2001.
“With the legacy of these major events and recently upgraded or newly built outstanding facilities, Zakopane would be again an ideal host for the FISU World University Winter Games, maybe together with its neighbour (country) Slovakia,” he added.
Like the other speakers, Leonz Eder praised Poland’s great experience as a host for single and multisport events both in winter and summer.
“This combined with the Polish hospitality explains why many federations including FISU would be happy to return to this country for their events,” he said.
In Éric Saintrond’s panel, the discussion addressed the issue of the influence of politics in sport. It covered the participation of Russia in international sports events and Saintrond explained FISU’s position, which follows the decisions of the International Sports Federations.
He mentioned the help provided by FISU to Ukrainian athletes so they can participate in FISU events. “And I hope that the students from Russia will return to FISU competitions once the war is over,” he said.
Panelists also talked about “sport washing”. “We have to create a win win situation between the countries that want to invest in sport events to clean their image and the sport bodies that need hosts to organize their events. And we also need to take into account that those events must respect the “sport for climate change” UN resolution,” Éric Saintrond said.