The .is a specialised agency of the United Nations. It is headquartered in Madrid. UNWTO has 157 members and 6 associated members. There are also 500 affiliated members representing the private sector. The secretariat of the UNWTO is lead by the Secretary-General and orients its work toward programs. Germany has been a full member of UNWTO since 1976. The General Assembly is the supreme body of the UNWTO. The Executive Council is responsible for overseeing the Organization’s work and for ensuring compliance with budgetary rules
The World Tourism Organization’s stated task is to “promote and develop tourism with a view to contributing to economic development, international understanding, peace, prosperity and universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, gender, language and religion”. As it does so, the UNWTO pays particular attention to the interests of developing countries..
The UNWTO’s programme of work pursues two interrelated strategic objectives:
- improving the competitiveness of Member States’ tourism services (for example by fostering quality, innovation and the use of technology, easing travel, offering support with marketing, providing information and statistics on national and international tourism trends, looking ahead to future market developments, analysing the economic potential of tourism)
- ensuring sustainable and ethical tourism (for example by increasing the contribution made by tourism to all aspects of sustainability and ethics, in particular to alleviating poverty and protecting the environment, mitigating climate change, preserving the cultural legacy and biodiversity, fully integrating tourism into the economic development of tourist regions)
UNWTO encourages the implementation of the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism to maximise tourism's socio-economic contribution while minimising any negative impacts.