Mission for the New Millennium
The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO/OMT), a specialized agency of the
United Nations, is the leading international organization in the field of
tourism. It serves as a global forum for tourism policy issues and practical
source of tourism know-how.
With its headquarters in Madrid, Spain, the UNWTO plays a central and
decisive role in promoting the development of responsible, sustainable and
universally accessible tourism, with the aim of contributing to economic
development, international understanding, peace, prosperity and universal
respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms. In
pursuing this aim, the Organization pays particular attention to the interests
of developing countries in the field of tourism.
The UNWTO plays a catalytic role in promoting technology transfers and
international cooperation, in stimulating and developing public-private sector
partnerships and in encouraging the implementation of the Global Code of Ethics
for Tourism, with a view to ensuring that member countries, tourist destinations
and businesses maximize the positive economic, social and cultural effects of
tourism and fully reap its benefits, while minimizing its negative social and
In 2006, the UNWTO's membership is comprised of 150 countries, seven
territories and more than 300 Affiliate Members representing the private sector,
educational institutions, tourism associations and local tourism authorities.
The bodies of the World Tourism Organization
The General Assembly is the principal gathering of the
World Tourism Organization. It meets every two years to approve the budget and
programme of work and to debate topics of vital importance to the tourism
sector. Every four years it elects a Secretary-General. The General Assembly is
composed of Full Members and Associate Members. Affiliate Members and
representatives of other international organizations participate as observers.
The Executive Council is UNWTO's governing board,
responsible for ensuring that the Organization carries out its work and adheres
to its budget. It meets twice a year and is composed of 29 Members elected by
the General Assembly in a ratio of one for every five Full Members. As host
country of UNWTOĦäs Headquarters, Spain has a permanent seat on the Executive
Council. Representatives of the Associate Members and Affiliate Members
participate in Executive Council meetings as observers.
UNWTO has six regional commissions-Africa, the
Americas, East Asia and the Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and South Asia. The
commissions meet at least once a year and are composed of all the Full Members
and Associate Members from that region. Affiliate Members from the region
participate as observers.
Specialized committees of UNWTO Members advise on management
and programme content. These include: the Programme Committee, the Committee on
Budget and Finance, the Committee on Statistics and Macroeconomic Analysis of
Tourism, the Committee on Market Intelligence and Promotion, the Sustainable
Development of Tourism Committee, the Quality Support and Trade Committee, the
UNWTO Education Council, the UNWTO Business Council and the World Committee on
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