The World Tourism Organization had
its beginnings as the International Congress of Official Tourist Traffic
Associations set up in 1925 in
As tourism grew and became an integral part of the fabric of modern life, its international dimension increased and national governments started to play an increasingly important role-their activities covering the whole spectrum from infrastructure to regulations. By the mid-1960s, it became clear that there was a need for more effective tools to keep developments under review and to provide tourism with intergovernmental machinery especially equipped to deal with the movement of persons, tourism policies and tourism's impacts.
In 1967, the members of IUOTO called for its transformation into an intergovernmental body empowered to deal on a worldwide basis with all matters concerning tourism and to cooperate with other competent organizations, particularly those of the United Nations' system, such as the World Health Organization (WHO), UNESCO, and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
A resolution to the same effect was passed in December 1969 by the UN General Assembly, which recognized the decisive and central role the transformed IUOTO should play in the field of world tourism in cooperation with the existing machinery within the UN. Following this resolution, the UNWTO's Statutes were ratified in 1974 by the States whose official tourist organizations were members of IUOTO.
IUOTO became the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and its first General
Assembly was held in
In 1976, UNWTO became an executing agency of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and in 1977, a formal cooperation agreement was signed with the United Nations itself. In 2003, the UNWTO was converted into a specialized agency of the United Nations and reaffirmed its leading role in international tourism.
its early years, UNWTO's membership and influence in
world tourism have continued to grow. By September 2008, its membership
included 154 countries, seven associate members (
Every year on 27 September World Tourism Day is celebrated.
The official website of UNWTO.
Information of the UNWTO flag in Flags of the World.