Governing bodies

Governing Bodies

The bodies of the World Tourism Organization are the:

General Assembly

The General Assembly is the principal gathering of the World Tourism Organization. It meets every two years to approve the budget and programme of work and to debate topics of vital importance to the tourism sector. Every four years it elects a Secretary-General. The General Assembly is composed of Full Members and Associate Members. Affiliate Members and representatives of other international organizations participate as observers.

The World Committee on Tourism Ethics is a subsidiary organ of the General Assembly.

The General Assembly is the supreme organ of UNWTO. Its ordinary sessions are held every two years and is attended by delegates from UNWTO Full and Associate Members, as well as representatives from UNWTO Affiliate Members.

It is considered the most important global meeting of senior tourism officials and high-level representatives of the private sector.

Previous sessions:

Session Venue Date
XXIII Saint Petersburg Russia September 2019
XXII Chengdu, China September 2017
XXI Medellín, Colombia September 2015
XX Victoria Falls, Zambia/Zimbabwe August 2013
XIX Gyeongju, Republic of Korea October 2011
XVIII Astana, Kazakhstan October 2009
XVII Cartagena de Indias, Colombia November 2007
XVI Dakar, Senegal November/December 2005
XV Beijing, China October 2003
XIV Seoul, Republic of Korea/Osaka, Japan September 2001
XIII Santiago, Chile September/October 1999
XII Istanbul, Turkey October 1997
XI Cairo, Egypt October 1995
X Bali, Indonesia October 1993
IX Buenos Aires, Argentina September/October 1991
VIII Paris, France August/September 1989
VII Madrid, Spain September/October 1987
VI Sofia, Bulgaria September 1985
V New Delhi, India October 1983
IV Rome, Italy September 1981
III Torremolinos, Spain September 1979
II Torremolinos, Spain May/June 1977
I Madrid, Spain May 1975

Regional Commissions

UNWTO has six regional commissions-Africa, the Americas, East Asia and the Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and South Asia. The commissions meet at least once a year and are composed of all the Full Members and Associate Members from that region. Affiliate Members from the region participate as observers.

Established in 1975 as subsidiary organs of the General Assembly, the six Regional Commissions normally meet once a year. They enable member States to maintain contact with one another and with the Secretariat between sessions of the General Assembly, to which they submit their proposals and convey their concerns. Each Commission elects one Chairman and its Vice-Chairmen from among its Members for a term of two years commencing from one session to the next session of the Assembly.

Officers (2019-2021)

UNWTO Commission for Africa (CAF)
Chairman: Zambia
Vice-Chairmen: Burkina Faso, Morocco

UNWTO Commission for the Americas (CAM)
Chairman: Jamaica
Vice-Chairmen: Honduras, Paraguay

UNWTO Commission for East Asia and the Pacific (CAP)
Chairman: Malaysia
Vice-Chairmen: Indonesia, Vanuatu

UNWTO Commission for Europe (CEU)
Chairman: Greece
Vice-Chairmen: Rep. Moldova, Poland (2020)

UNWTO Commission for Middle East (CME)
Chairman: United Arab Emirates
Vice-Chairmen: Iraq, Yemen

UNWTO Commission for South Asia (CSA)
Chairman: Maldives
Vice-Chairmen: Bhutan, Sri Lanka

Executive Council

The Executive Council is UNWTO's governing board, responsible for ensuring that the Organization carries out its work and adheres to its budget. It meets at least twice a year and is composed by Members elected by the General Assembly in a ratio of one for every five Full Members. As host country of UNWTO´s Headquarters, Spain has a permanent seat on the Executive Council. Representatives of the Associate Members and Affiliate Members participate in Executive Council meetings as observers.

Officers for 2019

Chair: Kenya
First Vice-Chair: Italy
Second Vice-Chair: Cabo Verde

The Executive Council's task is to take all necessary measures, in consultation with the Secretary-General, for the implementation of its own decisions and recommendations of the Assembly and report thereon to the Assembly.

The Council meets at least twice a year.

The Council consists of Full Members elected by the Assembly in the proportion of one Member for every five Full Members, in accordance with the Rules of Procedure laid down by the Assembly with a view to achieving fair and equitable geographical distribution.

The term of office of Members elected to the Council is four years and elections for one-half of the Council membership are held every two years. Spain is a Permanent Member of the Executive Council.

The Council elects one Chair and two Vice-Chairs from among its Members.

Subsidiary Organs

Fri 13 Sep 2019 Executive Council - 111th session - Saint Petersburg - Russia
Sun 16 Jun 2019 Executive Council - 110th session - Baku - Azerbaijan
Tue 30 Oct 2018 Executive Council - 109th session - Manama - Bahrain
Wed 23 May 2018 Executive Council - 108th session - San Sebastián - Spain
Sat 16 Sep 2017 Executive Council - 107th session - Chengdu - China
Tue 12 Sep 2017 Executive Council - 106th session - Chengdu - China
Wed 10 May 2017 Executive Council - 105th session, Madrid, Spain - Madrid - Spain
Sun 30 Oct 2016 Executive Council - 104th session, Luxor, Egypt - Luxor - Egypt
Mon 09 May 2016 Executive Council - 103rd session - Málaga - Spain
Thu 17 Sep 2015 Executive Council - 102nd session - Medellín - Colombia
Sun 13 Sep 2015 Executive Council - 101st session - Medellín - Colombia
Wed 27 May 2015 Executive Council - 100th session - Rovinj - Croatia
Wed 01 Oct 2014 Executive Council - Ninety-ninth session - Samarkand - Uzbekistan
Wed 04 Jun 2014 Executive Council - Ninety-eighth session - Santiago de Compostela - Spain
Thu 29 Aug 2013 Executive Council - Ninety-seventh session - Livingstone - Zambia
Sun 25 Aug 2013 Executive Council - Ninety-sixth session - Victoria Falls - Zimbabwe
Mon 27 May 2013 Executive Council - Ninety-fifth session - Belgrade - Serbia
Tue 23 Oct 2012 Executive Council - Ninety-fourth session - Campeche - Mexico
Mon 11 Jun 2012 Executive Council - Ninety-third session - Madrid - Spain
Fri 14 Oct 2011 Executive Council - Ninety-second session - Gyeongju - Republic of Korea
Sun 09 Oct 2011 Executive Council - Ninety-first session - Gyeongju - Republic of Korea
Sun 19 Jun 2011 Executive Council - Ninetieth session - Mombasa - Kenya
Sun 24 Oct 2010 Executive Council - Eighty-ninth session - Kish Island - Iran
Sun 06 Jun 2010 Executive Council - Eighty-eighth session - Puerto Iguazú - Argentina
Thu 08 Oct 2009 Executive Council - Eighty-seventh session - Astana - Kazakhstan
Sat 03 Oct 2009 Executive Council - Eighty-sixth session - Astana - Kazakhstan
Thu 07 May 2009 Executive Council - Eighty-fifth session - Bamako - Mali
Tue 14 Oct 2008 Executive Council - Eighty-fourth session - Madrid - Spain
Fri 13 Jun 2008 Executive Council - Eighty-third session - Jeju - Republic of Korea
Thu 29 Nov 2007 Executive Council - Eighty-second session - Cartagena de Indias - Colombia
Thu 22 Nov 2007 Executive Council - Eighty-first session - Cartagena de Indias - Colombia
Tue 12 Jun 2007 Executive Council - Eightieth session - Yasmine Hammamet - Tunisia
Mon 20 Nov 2006 Executive Council - Seventy-ninth session - Algiers - Algeria
Tue 27 Jun 2006 Executive Council - Seventy-eighth session - Quito - Ecuador
Thu 01 Dec 2005 Executive Council - Seventy-seventh session - Dakar - Senegal
Sat 26 Nov 2005 Executive Council - Seventy-sixth session - Dakar - Senegal
Mon 13 Jun 2005 Executive Council - Seventy-fifth session - Nessebar - Bulgaria
Tue 01 Feb 2005 Executive Council - First emergency session - Phuket - Thailand
Thu 02 Dec 2004 Executive Council - Seventy-fourth session - Salvador do Bahia - Brazil
Thu 08 Jul 2004 Executive Council - Seventy-third session - Hyderabad - India
Fri 24 Oct 2003 Executive Council - Seventy-second session - Beijing - China
Sat 18 Oct 2003 Executive Council - Seventy-first session - Beijing - China
Tue 03 Jun 2003 Executive Council - Seventieth session - Madrid - Spain
Wed 02 Oct 2002 Executive Council - Sixty-ninth session - Saint Petersburg - Russian Federation
Tue 18 Jun 2002 Executive Council - Sixty-eighth session - Petra - Jordan
Sat 29 Sep 2001 Executive Council - Sixty-seventh session - Osaka - Japan
Mon 24 Sep 2001 Executive Council - Sixty-sixth session - Seoul - Republic of Korea
Tue 05 Jun 2001 Executive Council - Sixty-fifth session - Natal - Brazil
Tue 28 Nov 2000 Executive Council - Sixty-third and sixty-fourth sessions - Madrid - Spain
Mon 24 Jan 2000 Executive Council - First extraordinary session - Madrid - Spain
Fri 01 Oct 1999 Executive Council - Sixty-second session - Santiago - Chile
Sat 25 Sep 1999 Executive Council - Sixty-first session - Santiago - Chile
Thu 20 May 1999 Executive Council - Sixtieth session - Kuala Lumpur - Malaysia
Wed 02 Dec 1998 Executive Council - Fifty-ninth session - Ushuaia - Argentina
Fri 05 Jun 1998 Executive Council - Fifty-eighth session - Lisbon - Portugal
Fri 24 Oct 1997 Executive Council - Fifty-seventh session - Istanbul - Turkey
Fri 17 Oct 1997 Executive Council - Fifty-sixth session - Istanbul - Turkey
Tue 20 May 1997 Executive Council - Fifty-fifth session - Manila - Philippines
Fri 15 Nov 1996 Executive Council - Fifty-fourth session - Tozeur - Tunisia
Mon 20 May 1996 Executive Council - Fifty-third session - Madrid - Spain
Sun 22 Oct 1995 Executive Council - Fifty-second session - Cairo - Egypt
Sun 15 Oct 1995 Executive Council - Fifty-first session - Cairo - Egypt
Thu 25 May 1995 Executive Council – Fiftieth session - Buenos Aires - Argentina
Mon 21 Nov 1994 Executive Council - Forty-ninth session - Madrid - Spain
Thu 12 May 1994 Executive Council - Forty-eighth session - Tunis - Tunisia
Fri 08 Oct 1993 Executive Council - Forty-seventh session - Bali - Indonesia
Fri 01 Oct 1993 Executive Council - Forty-sixth session - Bali - Indonesia
Tue 18 May 1993 Executive Council - Forty-fifth session - Madrid - Spain
Wed 25 Nov 1992 Executive Council - Forty-fourth session - Rome - Italy
Wed 13 May 1992 Executive Council - Forty-third session - Montreal - Canada
Fri 04 Oct 1991 Executive Council - Forty-second session - Buenos Aires - Argentina
Fri 27 Sep 1991 Executive Council - Forty-first session - Buenos Aires - Argentina
Wed 15 May 1991 Executive Council - Fortieth session - Madrid - Spain
Thu 06 Dec 1990 Executive Council - Thirty-ninth session - Goa - India
Mon 02 Apr 1990 Executive Council - Thirty-eighth session - Madrid - Spain
Fri 01 Sep 1989 Executive Council - Thirty-seventh session - Paris - France
Fri 25 Aug 1989 Executive Council - Thirty-sixth session - Paris - France
Tue 16 May 1989 Executive Council - Thirty-fifth session - Cancun - Mexico
Wed 02 Nov 1988 Executive Council - Thirty-fourth session - Fez - Morocco
Tue 03 May 1988 Executive Council - Thirty-third session - Madrid - Spain
Thu 01 Oct 1987 Executive Council - Thirty-second session - Madrid - Spain
Mon 21 Sep 1987 Executive Council - Thirty-first session - Madrid - Spain
Mon 11 May 1987 Executive Council - Thirtieth-session - Madrid - Spain
Mon 01 Dec 1986 Executive Council - Twenty-ninth session - Madrid - Spain
Mon 21 Apr 1986 Executive Council - Twenty-eighth session - Cartagena - Colombia
Thu 26 Sep 1985 Executive Council - Twenty-seven session - Sofia - Bulgaria
Tue 17 Sep 1985 Executive Council - Twenty-sixth session - Sofia - Bulgaria
Tue 07 May 1985 Executive Council - Twenty-fifth session - Washington D. C. - USA
Tue 04 Dec 1984 Executive Council - Twenty-fourth session - Madrid - Spain
Wed 02 May 1984 Executive Council - Twenty-third session - Madrid - Spain
Thu 13 Oct 1983 Executive Council - Twenty-second session - New Delhi - India
Mon 03 Oct 1983 Executive Council - Twenty-first session - New Delhi - India
Tue 03 May 1983 Executive Council - Twentieth session - Algiers - Algeria
Tue 07 Dec 1982 Executive Council - Nineteenth session - Madrid - Spain
Tue 27 Apr 1982 Executive Council - Eighteenth session - Madrid - Spain
Fri 25 Sep 1981 Executive Council - Seventeenth session - Rome - Italy
Mon 14 Sep 1981 Executive Council - Sixteenth Session - Rome - Italy
Tue 12 May 1981 Executive Council - Fifteenth session - Rabat - Morocco
Tue 09 Dec 1980 Executive Council - Fourteenth session - Madrid - Spain
Mon 21 Apr 1980 Executive Council - Thirteenth session - Madrid - Spain
Thu 27 Sep 1979 Executive Council - Twelfth session - Torremolinos - Spain
Mon 17 Sep 1979 Executive Council - Eleventh session - Torremolinos - Spain
Mon 23 Apr 1979 Executive Council - Tenth session - Madrid - Spain
Mon 20 Nov 1978 Executive Council - Ninth session - Madrid - Spain
Mon 24 Apr 1978 Executive Council - Eighth session - Madrid - Spain
Tue 22 Nov 1977 Executive Council - Third session - Tunis - Tunisia
Mon 07 Nov 1977 Executive Council - Seventh session - Madrid - Spain
Thu 02 Jun 1977 Executive Council - Sixth session - Torremolinos - Spain
Mon 23 May 1977 Executive Council - Fifth session - Torremolinos - Spain
Mon 21 Feb 1977 Executive Council - Fourth session - Madrid - Spain
Mon 26 Apr 1976 Executive Council - Second session - Acapulco - Mexico
Mon 19 May 1975 Executive Council - First session - Madrid - Spain

Committees

Specialized committees of UNWTO Members advise on management and programme content. These include: the Programme and Budget Committee, the Committee on Statistics and the Tourism Satellite Account, the Committee on Tourism and Competitiveness, the Committee on Tourism and Sustainability, the World Committee on Tourism Ethics and the Committee for the Review of Applications for Affiliate Membership.

 

The specialized committees are subsidiary organs of the UNWTO Executive Council; except the World Committee on Tourism Ethics which is a subsidiary organ of the General Assembly, and their role is to advise on management and programme content.

Committees (PDF)

Secretariat

The Secretariat is led by Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili from Georgia, who ‎supervises about 110 full-time staff at UNWTO's Madrid Headquarters. These officials are responsible ‎for implementing UNWTO's programme of work and serving the needs of Members. ‎The Affiliate Members are supported by a full-time Executive Director at the ‎Madrid Headquarters. The ‎Secretariat also includes a regional support office for Asia-Pacific in Nara, Japan, ‎financed by the Japanese Government. The official languages of UNWTO are Arabic, English, French, Russian and ‎Spanish. ‎