Category

Specialized Agencies

HQ location

Madrid

Date established

1975

Resolution

GA Resolution 58/232.

Joined CEB

11 March 2004

Leadership

Secretary-General

UNWTO is the UN's specialised agency in the field of tourism. It provides leadership and support to the tourism sector in the advancement of sustainable policies, practices and actions. Through the promotion and development of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism, UNWTO endeavours to maximise tourism's contribution to socio-economic growth, job creation, development, environmental conservation, cultural enrichment and international understanding, while minimising negative social or environmental impacts. It pays particular attention to the interests of developing countries.

UNWTO's general work programme comprises:

  • Five regional programmes (Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific, Europe, and the Middle East)
  • Sustainable Development of Tourism
  • Ethics and Social Dimensions ofTourism
  • Technical Cooperation and Services
  • Statistics and Tourism Satellite Account
  • Market Trends and Marketing Strategies
  • Education and Training
  • Knowledge Network
  • Risk and Crisis Management
  • Destination Management
  • Strategic Partnerships and Resource Mobilization
  • Special field programme/fairs
  • Information Resources and Archives
  • Communications
  • Affiliate members.

UNWTO acts as an executing agency for the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and has cooperation agreements with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), UN regional commissions, the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), and other UN specialised agencies- the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), International Maritime Organization (IMO), UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and World Health Organization (WHO).

In the framework of the UN commitment of 'delivering as one' to ensure effective development assistance and accelerate progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), UNWTO is leading an initiative with nine other UN agencies and programmes to coordinate their tourism-related work under the UN Steering Committee on Tourism for Development (SCTD). The other organisations are: the International Labour Organization (ILO), International Trade Centre (ITC), UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), UNDP, UNESCO, UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), World Trade Organization (WTO) and UNEP.

UNWTO was established on 2 January 1975 on the entry into force of statutes adopted on 27 September 1970 in Mexico City. Following a resolution adopted by its first General Assembly in May 1975, UNWTO established its headquarters in Madrid in January 1976, at the invitation of the Spanish Government. In GA res. 32/156 (1977), the General Assembly adopted an agreement on the relationship between the UN and UNWTO.  The Organization became a UN specialised agency in December 2003 (GA res. 58/232).

World Tourism Day (WTD) has been commemorated on 27 September each year since 1980. The date marks the anniversary of the adoption of the UNWTO Statutes in 1970. WTD's purpose is to foster international awareness about the importance of tourism and its social, cultural, political and economic value. The event seeks to address global challenges outlined in the MDGs and highlight the contribution the tourism industry can make in reaching these goals. The 2011 theme is Tourism- Linking Cultures.

  • General Assembly
  • Executive Council
  • Regional Commissions
  • Committees of the Executive Council and of the General Assembly
  • Affiliate Members (UNWTO Business Council)
  • Secretariat

The General Assembly, UNWTO's supreme body, has established six Regional Commissions covering Africa, the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, East Asia and the Pacific, and South Asia.

The Executive Council is UNWTO's governing body, and has one member elected on the basis of equitable geographical distribution for every five full members of UNWTO. There are currently 31 countries elected to the Council. The other Council participants are a representative of the UNWTO associate members and a representative of the affiliate members (Business Council). Neither has voting rights. Spain, the Organization's host country, sits on the Council as a permanent voting member.

The subsidiary bodies of the Executive Council are the: Programme Committee, Committee on Budget and Finance, Sustainable Development of Tourism Committee, Committee on Statistics and the Tourism Satellite Account, Market and Competitiveness Committee, and Committee for the Review of Applications for Affiliate Membership. The World Committee on Tourism Ethics is a subsidiary organ of the General Assembly.

Affiliate Members participate in UNWTO's activities, make recommendations to its bodies and carry out, by means of studies and seminars, their own activities within the framework of the UNWTO general work programme. The Secretariat, headed by UNWTO's Secretary-General, is responsible for implementing the work programme.

UNWTO has three categories of members:

  • Full members: 154 Member States
  • Associate members: seven territories or groups of territories not responsible for their external relations but whose membership is approved by the state assuming responsibility for their external relations
  • Affiliate members: some 403 non-governmental entities with specialised interests in tourism, and commercial and non-commercial bodies and associations with activities related to the aims of UNWTO or falling within its competence.

Permanent Observer status, with the right to speak but without the right to vote, was given to the Holy See at the General Assembly in 1979. Palestine has Special Observer status, granted in 1999.

Full members
Afghanistan
Albania
Algeria
Andorra
Angola
Argentina
Armenia
Australia
Austria
Azerbaijan
Bahamas
Bahrain
Bangladesh
Belarus
Benin
Bhutan
Bolivia
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Botswana
Brazil
Brunei Darussalam
Bulgaria Iran Poland
Burkina Faso Iraq Ponugal
Burundi
Cambodia
Cameroon
Canada
Cape Verde
Central African Republic
Chad
Chile
China
Colombia
Congo
Costa
Cote d'Ivoire
Croatia
Cuba
Cyprus
Czech Republic
DPRK
DR Congo
Djibouti
Dominican Republic
Ecuador
Egypt
El Salvador
Equatorial Guinea
Eritrea
Ethiopia
Fiji
France
Gabon
Gambia
Georgia
Germany
Ghana
Greece
Guatemala
Guinea
Guinea-Bissau
Haiti
Honduras
Hungary
India
Indonesia
Iran
Iraq
Israel
Italy
Jamaica
Japan
Jordan
Kazakhstan
Kenya
Kuwait
Kyrgyzstan
Lao PDR
Latvia
Lebanon
Lesotho
Libyan AJ
Lithuania
Madagascar
Malawi
Malaysia
Maldives
Mali
Malta
Mauritania
Mauritius
Mexico
Monaco
Mongolia
Montenegro
Morocco
Mozambique
Namibia
Nepal
Netherlands
Nicaragua
Niger
Nigeria
Norway
Oman
Pakistan
Panama
Papua New Guinea
Paraguay
Peru
Philippines
Poland
Portugal
Qatar
ROK
Republic of Moldova
Romania
Russian Federation
Rwanda
San Marino
Sao Tome and Principe
Saudi Arabia
Senegal
Serbia
Seychelles
Sierra Leone
Slovakia
Slovenia
South Africa
Spain
Sri Lanka
Sudan
Swaziland
Switzerland
Syrian AR
Tajikistan
Thailand
The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
Timor-Leste
Togo
Tunisia
Turkey
Tukmenistan
Uganda
Ukraine
UR of Tanzania
Uruguay
Uzbekistan
Vanuatu
Venezuela
Viet Nam
Yemen
Zambia
Zimbabwe

Associate members
Aruba
Flemish Community of Belgium
Hong Kong, China
Madeira
Puerto Rico

Permanent Observer
Holy See

Special Observer
Palestine

The UNWTO General Assembly meets every two years to approve the Organization's budget and work programme. The 19th session is scheduled to be held from 8 to 14 October 2011 in Gyeongju, ROK. Regional commissions normally meet once a year. The Executive Council meets at least twice a year.

Capitan Haya, 42
28020 Madrid
Spain
Telephone: (+34) 91 567 81 00
Fax: (+34) 91 571 37 33
Email: omt@unwto.org

Agreements between UNWTO and the UN