World Tourism Organization

World Tourism Organization

The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), headquartered in Madrid, Spain, is a United Nations agency dealing with questions relating to tourism. It compiles the World Tourism Rankings [ [ UNWTO World Tourism Barometer] ] . The World Tourism Organization is a significant global body concerned with the collection and collation of statistical information on international tourism. This organization represents public sector tourism bodies from most countries in the world and the publication of its data makes possible comparisons of the flow and growth of tourism on a global scale.

Organizational aims

UNWTO plays a role in promoting the development of responsible, ‎sustainable and universally accessible tourism, paying particular attention to the ‎interests of developing countries‎.

The Organization encourages 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.

UNWTO is committed to the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, geared ‎toward reducing poverty and fostering sustainable development. [United Nations World Tourism Organization, "About UNWTO"]


The origin of the United Nation World Tourism Organization stems back to 1925 when the International Congress of Official Tourist Traffic Associations (ICOTT) was formed at The Hague. Some articles from early volumes of the Annals of Tourism Research,Jafari, "Creation of the intergovernmental world tourism organization"] claim that the UNWTO originated from the International Union of Official Tourist Publicity Organizations (IUOTPO), although the UNWTO states that the ICOTT became the International Union of Official Tourist Propaganda Organizations first in 1934.

Following the end of the Second World War and with international travel numbers increasing, the IUOTPO restructured itself into the International Union of Official Travel Organizations (IUOTO). A technical, non-governmental organization, the IUOTO was made up of a combination of national tourist organizations, industry and consumer groups. The goals and objectives of the IUOTO were to not only promote tourism in general but also to extract the best out of tourism as an international trade component and as an economic development strategy for developing nations.

Towards the end of the 1960’s, the IUOTO realized the need for further transformation to enhance its role on an international level. The 20th IUOTO general assembly in Tokyo, 1967, declared the need for the creation of an intergovernmental body with the necessary abilities to function on an international level in cooperation with other international agencies, in particular the United Nations. Throughout the existence of the IUOTO, close ties had been established between the organization and the United Nations (UN) and initial suggestions had the IUOTO becoming part of the UN. However, following the circulation of a draft convention, consensus held that any resultant intergovernmental organization should be closely linked to the UN but preserve its "complete administrative and financial autonomy". [Jafari, "Creation of the intergovernmental world tourism organization", 241]

It was on the recommendations of the UN that the formation of the new intergovernmental tourism organization was based. Resolution 2529 of the XXIVth UN general assembly stated: cquote| [The general assembly] believes that a formula that would allow agreement to be reached more readily among governments for the establishment of an international tourism organization of an intergovernmental, particularly to assist the developing countries would be:(a) The conversion of the International Union of Official Travel Organizations into an intergovernmental organization through a revision of its statutes:(b) The establishment of operational links between the United Nations and the transformed Union by means of a formal agreement. [United Nations General Assembly, "General assembly - twenty fourth session", 34]

In 1970, the IUOTO general assembly voted in favor of forming the World Tourism Organization (WTO), based on statutes of the IUOTO, and after ratification by the prescribed 51 states, the WTO came into operation on November 1, 1974.

Most recently, at the fifteenth general assembly in 2003, the WTO general council and the UN agreed to establish the WTO as a specialized agency of the UN. The significance of this collaboration, WTO Secretary-General Mr. Francesco Frangialli claimed, would lie in "the increased visibility it gives the WTO, and the recognition that will be accorded to [it] .Tourism will be considered on an equal footing with other major activities of human society". [World Tourism Organization, "WTO news, 2003", 3]

As of 2007, its membership included 150 countries, seven territories and some 350 affiliate members, representing the private sector, educational institutions, tourism associations and local tourism authorities. The frequent confusion between the two WTOs – World Tourism Organization and the Geneva-based World Trade Organization – officially ended on 1 December 2005, when the General Assembly approved to add the letters UN (for United Nations) to the start of abbreviation of the leading international tourism body in English and in Russian. [" [ WORLD TOURISM ORGANIZATION CHANGES ITS ABBREVIATION TO UNWTO] ", UNWTO Press and Communications.] UNWTO abbreviation remains OMT in French and Spanish. UNWTO General Assembly concluded its work at its 16th session in Dakar, Senegal, on 2 December 2005.

See also

* Tourism
* Medical tourism
* World Health Organisation

External links

* [ Official website]



*Jafari, J. (1974). Creation of the intergovernmental world tourism organization. Annals of Tourism Research, 2, (5), 237-245.
*United Nations General Assembly. (1969). General assembly - twenty fourth session.
*United Nations World Tourism Organization. (2007). About UNWTO.
*World Tourism Organization. (2003). WTO news, 2003 (3). Madrid: World Tourism Organization.
*cite news
publisher =UNWTO Press and Communications
url =
date =2005-12-01
accessdate =2008-03-04

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