World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) | IAS Target IAS Target

World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) is the United Nations specialized agency responsible for the promotion of sustainable and universally accessible tourism. It is the leading international organization in the field of tourism, which promotes tourism as a driver of economic growth, inclusive environmental and development sustainability, and offers leadership and support to the sector in advancing knowledge and tourism policies worldwide. It encourages the implementation of the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism to maximize the contribution of tourism to socio-economic development while minimizing its possible negative impacts and is committed to promoting tourism as a tool in achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

UNWTO generates

  • promotes knowledge and competitive and sustainable tourism policies and instruments,
  • foster tourism education and training,
  • works to make tourism an effective instrument for development through technical support projects in over 100 countries around the world.

Formation October 1975
Membership 158 countries, 6 territories and over 500 affiliate members representing the private sector, tourism associations, educational institutions, and local tourism authorities
Headquarters Madrid
Parent organization United Nations Economic and Social Council
Official languages The official languages of UNWTO are Arabic, English, French, Russian and Spanish
  • Key tourism statistics
  • UNWTO Annual Report
  • UNWTO Declarations
  • UNWTO Fact Sheets
  • UNWTO World Tourism Barometer
  • Knowledge Network Issues Paper Series

WTO's Objectives

The objectives of the UNWTO are to foster and develop sustainable tourism to contribute
  • international understanding,
  • to economic development,
  • peace, prosperity and universal respect for, and observance of, human rights
  • fundamental rights for all, without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion.


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 comprises of full members and associate members. Representatives and Affiliate members of other international organizations participate as observers. The World Committee on Tourism Ethics is a subsidiary organ of the General Assembly.
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 at twice a year and is composed of members elected by the General Assembly in a ratio of one for every five full members.
Committees Specialized committees of UNWTO members advise on management and programme content. These include:
  • the Programme Committee,
  • the Committee on Statistics and the Tourism Satellite Account,
  • the Committee on Budget and Finance,
  • the Committee on Market and Competitiveness,
  • the Sustainable Development of Tourism Committee,
  • the Committee on Poverty Reduction
  • the Committee for the Review of applications for affiliate membership.
Secretariat The Secretariat is responsible for implementing UNWTO's programme of work and serving the needs of members and affiliate members. The group is led by Secretary-General.