Its headquarter is at Madrid, Spain.
The World Tourism Organisation (WTO) was established in The Hague in 1925 as the International Union of Official Tourist Publicity Organisation. After the Second World War it moved to Geneva and was renamed as the International Union for Official Tourism Organisation (IUOTO).
In 1975, the IUOTO was rechristened as the World Tourism Organisation, the WTO became an executing agency of the UNDP in 1976. In 1977, the WTO signed a formal cooperation agreement with the UN. Membership of the WTO is of three kinds: full membership (open to all sovereign states); associate membership (open to territories not responsible for their external relations); and affiliate membership (open to organisations and agencies related to the tourism field).
The Organisation’s purpose is to develop to the optimum the positive impacts of tourism, such as job creation, new infrastructure and foreign exchange earnings. It also aims at minimizing the negative environmental or social impacts.
The General Assembly is responsible for approving the budget and programme of work and discusses important issues of the tourism sector. The Executive Council ensures that the Organisation carries out its work keeping the budget limits in mind. The Organisation has six regional commissions—Africa, the Americas, East Asia and the Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and South Asia. Specialized committees of the WTO members advise on management and programme content.