World Tourism Organization

Updated: 2006-11-17 11:33

The Secretariat is led by Secretary-General Francesco Frangialli of France, who supervises about 90 full-time staff at UNWTO's Madrid Headquarters. He is assisted by the Deputy Secretary-General Taleb Rifai of Jordan. These officials are responsible for implementing UNWTO's programme of work and serving the needs of Members. The UNWTO Business Council is supported by a full-time Chief Executive Officer at the Madrid Headquarters, a position that is financed by the Spanish Government. The Secretariat also includes a regional support office for Asia-Pacific in Osaka, Japan, financed by the Japanese Government. The official languages of UNWTO are English, Spanish, French, Russian and Arabic.
Cooperation for development

The transfer of tourism know-how to developing countries is one of the World Tourism Organization's fundamental tasks. As an executing agency of the United Nations Development Programme, UNWTO contributes decades of experience in tourism to the sustainable development goals of nations throughout the world.

Acting on requests from Member States, UNWTO secures financing, locates the world's leading experts, and carries out a gamut of development projects-large and small. Long-term projects have included:

, Tourism Master Plan for Pakistan (2001)
, Tourism Master Plans for eight Chinese provinces (2000-2002)
, Development of national parks in Rwanda (1999)
, Tourism development strategy for Moldova (1999-ongoing)
, Integrated development programme for Palestinian Authority (2000)
, Development activities in some 70 countries worth more than US$ 2.5 million (2001-2002)

Projects can also be short and targeted to address an immediate need, for example:

, Tourism legislation in Syria
, Ecotourism plan for Lithuania
, Statistics development in Botswana
, Social impact study for the Maldives
, Management of heritage sites in Ecuador
, Hotel classification for Bolivia
, Women's empowerment plan for Namibia
, Training for quality service in tourism in Peru

Tourism has proven to be a powerful tool in alleviating poverty. It has become the economic mainstay of many of the world's least developed countries (LDCs), providing them with one of the opportunities for development and job creation. A joint programme with UNCTAD called Sustainable Tourism - Eliminating Poverty (STEP) focuses on the twin subjects of sustainable tourism and alleviation of poverty, in order to increase their potential synergies and contribute more strongly to sustainable development in least developed and developing countries. STEP was launched at WSSD in Johannesburg in August 2002.


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