World Tourism Organization

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World Tourism Organization
World Tourism Organization

World Tourism Organization building in Madrid
Organization type Special agency of the United Nations
Abbreviation UNWTO
management GeorgiaGeorgia Zurab Pololikashvili
(since 2018)
Founded 1st November 1974
Headquarters Madrid , SpainSpainSpain 
Upper organization United NationsU.N. United Nations

The World Tourism Organization , English World Tourism Organization (official abbreviation UNWTO , to distinguish the World Trade Organization officially WTO ) is a United Nations specialized agency based in Spain's capital Madrid and about 100 employees.

Goal setting

The UNWTO, understood as an international forum for tourism policy and interface for intergovermental communication, pursues the goal of developing responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism in order to contribute to economic development, international understanding, peace, prosperity and the observance of human rights. The focus is on tourism in developing countries, taking into account the Millennium Development Goals and sustainable development concepts. To this end, the UNWTO is particularly committed to ensuring compliance with the Global Code of Ethics in Tourism, which was signed by the General Assembly in 1999. The Code of Ethics aims to maximize the positive socio-economic impact of tourism while minimizing possible negative impacts.

The best known publications are the annual tourism statistics, which depict international tourism. At the same time, the UNWTO is striving to harmonize international tourism statistics. The UNWTO recommendations serve, for example, as the basis for the statistics of the OECD and the European Union .

Also significant are the UNWTO activities within the framework of the Sustainable Tourism for Eliminating Poverty (ST-EP) project, which goes back to an initiative to fight poverty through tourism as part of the World Summit for Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in 2002.


The UNWTO emerged from an international congress that took place in 1925. After the Second World War, the World Tourism Organization was named International Union of Official Travel Organizations (IUOTO) and its headquarters moved from The Hague to Geneva . It has been officially called the World Tourism Organization since 1975 and has had its headquarters in Madrid since January 1, 1976. After the preliminary integration of the UNWTO into the United Nations Development Program UNDP in 1976 and the signing of a cooperation agreement with the United Nations in 1976, the UNWTO was granted the status of a UN specialized agency in 2003. In 2013, 155 states and 450 organizations were members of the UNWTO.

The expenditure of the UNWTO in 2016 was around 23 million US dollars. The budget is the smallest of all UN specialized agencies.


To avoid confusion with the World Trade Organization ( WTO ), the World Tourism Organization is officially abbreviated to UNWTO.

See also

Web links

Commons : World Tourism Organization  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. UNWTO Global Code of Ethics for Tourism
  2. Expenditure by Agency | United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination. Retrieved November 22, 2018 .
  3. UNWTO Code of Ethics Since the end of 2005, the official abbreviation of the World Tourism Organization has been “UNWTO” in order to avoid confusion with the World Trade Organization (WTO).