World Tourism Organization

Updated: 2006-11-17 11:33

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 environmental impacts.

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 are the:

General Assembly
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.

Executive Council
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.

Regional Commissions
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 Tourism Ethics.


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