What is UNWTO along with Function, Objectives, Aims, Role & Importance

The UNWTO stand for United Nations World Tourism Organization. It is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN)

What is UNWTO ?

The UNWTO stand for United Nations World Tourism Organization. It is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) responsible for promoting sustainable and responsible tourism worldwide. It serves as a global forum for governments, tourism organizations, and other stakeholders to discuss and coordinate policies and initiatives related to tourism.

HeadquarterMadrid, Spain
MembershipThe UNWTO has 159 member states, six associate members, and over 500 affiliate members, including tourism businesses, educational institutions, and other organizations.

Aim of the UNWTO

  • Promoting tourism as a driver of economic growth
  • Promoting inclusive development
  • Promoting environmental sustainability
  • Protecting cultural and natural heritage
  • Supporting communities both economically and socially

Functions of the UNWTO

The UNWTO, or the United Nations World Tourism Organization, performs several important functions to fulfill its mandate of promoting sustainable and responsible tourism worldwide.

Below I share important Functions of the UNWTO

Promoting tourism as a driver of economic growth, inclusive development and environmental sustainability.

Providing leadership and support in advancing knowledge and tourism policies worldwide.


Generating market knowledge, promoting competitive and sustainable tourism policies and instruments.

Fostering tourism education and training.

Working to make tourism an effective tool for development through technical assistance projects in over 100 countries around the world.

Paying special attention to the situation of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and to their challenges related to the development of a sustainable tourism.

Promoting the potential of tourism in fighting poverty.


Successfully implemented Collaborative Actions for Sustainable Tourism (COAST), a tourism project in Africa.

By Above functions UNWTO, the UNWTO strives to advance sustainable tourism practices, promote inclusive and responsible tourism development, and maximize the socio-economic benefits of tourism while minimizing its negative impacts.

Objective of the UNWTO

Promote tourism as a driver of economic growth, inclusive development, and environmental sustainability.

Strengthening Tourism Governance and Institutional Capacity

Offer leadership and support to the tourism sector in advancing knowledge and tourism policies worldwide.

Promote responsible, sustainable, and universally accessible tourism.


Protect cultural and natural heritage.

Facilitating Collaboration and Partnerships

Support communities both economically and socially.

Supporting Crisis Management and Resilience

Above these objectives reflect the UNWTO’s commitment to promoting sustainable, inclusive, and responsible tourism that maximizes the benefits for destinations, communities, and visitors while preserving and respecting the natural and cultural heritage of the places they visit.

Importance of UNWTO

UNWTO plays an important role in the global tourism industry. It provides leadership and support to the sector in advancing knowledge and tourism policies worldwide. UNWTO also works to promote sustainable tourism development, which is tourism that makes optimal use of environmental resources, respects the socio-cultural authenticity of host communities and provides socio-economic benefits for all.

Global Tourism Policy and Coordination

The UNWTO serves as a global forum for governments, tourism organizations, and other stakeholders to discuss and coordinate policies related to tourism. It provides a platform for sharing best practices, exchanging information, and fostering international cooperation. The organization helps in establishing common frameworks and guidelines, facilitating policy dialogue, and promoting policy coherence in the tourism sector.


Sustainable Tourism Development

UNWTO is committed to promoting sustainable tourism practices worldwide. It plays a crucial role in raising awareness about the importance of sustainable tourism, providing guidance on sustainable development strategies, and supporting member states in implementing sustainable tourism policies. By advocating for responsible and ethical tourism, the UNWTO contributes to the protection of natural and cultural heritage, the preservation of ecosystems, and the well-being of local communities.

Economic Impact and Job Creation

Tourism is a significant economic sector, and the UNWTO recognizes its potential for economic growth and job creation. By promoting tourism development, enhancing competitiveness, and facilitating investment, the UNWTO supports the generation of income and employment opportunities in both developed and developing countries. The organization’s initiatives help governments and tourism stakeholders leverage the economic benefits of tourism for sustainable development.

Knowledge Generation and Sharing

The UNWTO conducts research, collects data, and publishes reports on various aspects of tourism. It provides valuable insights into tourism trends, market analysis, and impact assessment, which assist policymakers, industry professionals, and researchers in making informed decisions. The organization promotes knowledge exchange, capacity building, and collaboration among stakeholders, thereby fostering innovation, sharing best practices, and advancing the understanding of tourism’s role in sustainable development.

Crisis Management and Resilience

Tourism is susceptible to various crises such as natural disasters, health emergencies, geopolitical tensions, and economic downturns. The UNWTO plays a critical role in supporting member states and tourism stakeholders in crisis management, preparedness, response, and recovery. The organization provides guidance, expertise, and technical assistance, facilitating cooperation and coordination to minimize the negative impacts of crises on the tourism sector and help destinations build resilience.

Advocacy and Partnerships

Advocates for the importance of tourism on the global agenda and represents the interests of its member states in international forums. It collaborates with governments, international organizations, private sector entities, and civil society to foster partnerships and mobilize resources for sustainable tourism development. The organization works closely with other UN agencies, promoting the integration of tourism into broader sustainable development agendas.

Destination Promotion and Branding

The UNWTO actively promotes tourism destinations and products through campaigns, events, and partnerships. It raises awareness about lesser-known destinations, supports marketing initiatives, and encourages cultural exchange and tourism diversification. By showcasing the unique attractions and heritage of different regions, the UNWTO contributes to increased international tourism flows and economic opportunities for destinations.

Overall, the UNWTO’s importance lies in its role as a global advocate for sustainable tourism development, its facilitation of international cooperation and policy coordination, its support for economic growth and job creation, and its promotion of responsible and inclusive tourism practices. Through its activities, the organization helps shape the global tourism landscape, ensuring that tourism contributes positively to socio-economic development while safeguarding the environment and respecting the cultural diversity of destinations.


The UNWTO is a valuable resource for you, if you are a interested in tourism. It provides information, research, and advocacy on a wide range of tourism issues. The UNWTO is also a valuable partner for governments, businesses, and organizations that are working to promote tourism as a force for good in the world.



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