The World Tourism Organization

The World Tourism Organization Studies and Promotes Global Tourism

Ruins of St. Paul's Cathedral
Tourists visiting the ruins of St. Paul's Cathedral in Macau, China.

Ken Welsh/The Image Bank/Getty Images

The World Tourism Organization promotes and studies international tourism. Headquartered in Madrid, Spain, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations. More than 900 million times a year, someone travels to another country. Travelers visit beaches, mountains, national parks, historic sites, festivals, museums, worship centers, and countless other attractions. Tourism is one of the world's most important industries and creates millions of jobs. The UNWTO is particularly devoted to promoting tourism in developing countries and has vowed to accomplish some of the UN's Millennium Development Goals. The UNWTO reminds travelers to be informed and tolerant in order to truly understand different cultures.

Geography of the World Tourism Organization

History, Structure, and Regulations of the World Tourism Organization

The World Tourism Organization is composed of a General Assembly, Executive Council, and Secretariat. These groups meet periodically to vote on the budget, administration, and priorities of the organization. Members can be suspended from the organization if their tourism policies conflict with the UNWTO'S objectives. Some countries have voluntarily withdrawn from the organization over the years. Members are expected to pay dues to help fund the administration of the UNWTO.

The Goal of Raising Living Standards

Industries Related to Tourism

Recommendations for Travelers

Additional Work of the World Tourism Organization

  • Studies travel trends through recent history
  • Predicts future tourism trends
  • Issues travel warnings
  • Prevents the spread of diseases
  • Helps countries market their destinations
  • Encourages countries to simplify visa application processes and reduce travel taxes
  • Trains travel professionals
  • Helps reduce congestion at the world's most visited sites
  • Helps destinations rebuild their image after crises like natural disasters.

Rewarding Tourism Experiences

The World Tourism Organization is the most important institute that evaluates international tourism. Tourism can bring economic and social prosperity for the world's most vulnerable. The UNWTO protects the environment and fosters peace. Before embarking on their adventures, travelers must be willing to learn geography and history, and about different languages, religions, and customs. Respectful travelers will be warmly welcomed in the world's most visited places and, more importantly, emerging destinations. Travelers will never forget the fascinating places they visited or the special people they met.