The swift expansion of travel had created the need for a world body able to deal with tourism problems at the government level, and this led to the transformation of IUOTO into WTO. 4. The headquarters of the organisation were set up in Madrid (Spain) in January 1976. 5. The activities of the organisation cover all sectors of tourism on a worldwide basis.
WTO works in cooperation with all international organisations, the United Nations in particular, as well as with commercial and non-commercial bodies involved in tourism. The WTO has a very emphatic technical character. 6. The WTO was originally conceived as an inter-Governmental organisation in a UN General Assembly resolution on December 6, 1969. This resolution called for the establishment of WTO to play a “central and decisive role” in the field of tourism and to maintain effective collaboration with the appropriate organs of the United Nations and its specialised agencies.
7. At Torremolinos, in June 1977, the second General Assembly of WTO approved an Agreement with the United Nations for Cooperation and Relationship. 8. On December 20, 1977 the 32nd General Assembly of the UN approved Torremolinos Agreement, which is now in force. 9. In immediate implementation of this Agreement, the UN General Assembly in December 1977 also approved a resolution sponsored by the Philippines with 24 cosponsors, including India, requesting the WTO “to intensify its efforts to promote tourism, particularly in the developing countries, through international cooperation and to report to the General Assembly at its 33rd session on action taken.” 10. The WTO became an executing agency of the UNDP in May 1976.
A few months later, UNDP Resident Representatives throughout the world became WTO representatives for all matters concerning technical cooperation in the field of tourism. Aims of WTO:The aims of the organisation are defined in Article 3 of the Statute which is divided into the following three sections: (a) The fundamental aim of the organisation shall be the promotion and development of 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 to race, sex, language or religion. The organisation shall take all appropriate action to attain this objective. (b) In pursuing this aim, the organisation shall pay particular attention to the interests of the developing countries in the field of tourism. (c) In order to establish its central role in the field of tourism the organisation shall establish and maintain effective collaboration with the appropriate organs of the United Nations and its specialised agencies. In the connection the Organisation shall seek a cooperative relationship with and participation in the activities of the United Nations Development Programme as a participating and executing agency. WTO Membership:There are three categories of members of the organisation.
The categories are:
(i) Full Members:
Full Members are all the sovereign states.
(ii) Associate Members:
Associate Members are the territories or groups of territories not responsible for their external relations but whose membership is approved by the state assuming responsibility for their external relations.
(iii) Affiliate Members:
Affiliate Members are international bodies, both inter-governmental and non-governmental concerned with specialised interests in tourism, as well as commercial and non-commercial bodies and associations whose activities are related to the aims of WTO or fell within its competence. Activities of WTO:The major activities of WTO include the following: (i) Constant review of tourism trends and developments and exercising vigilance over changes in world economic and social conditions affecting tourism, market fluctuations and maintenance of standards within the tourism sector. (ii) Clearing house for all available information on international and domestic tourism including statistical data, legislation and regulations, facilities and special events.
Systematic collection, analysis and dissemination of data on various aspects of tourism. Collecting legislative texts, regulations and documentation on all aspects of travel. Conducting research studies covering tourism markets, plant and enterprises, physical planning and area development, promotion and marketing, economic analysis and financing techniques etc. Regular supply of studies, as well as updated information on trends in the various fields of tourism to its members. Fostering the adoption of measures in cooperation with competent specialized bodies regarding simplifying frontier formalities and removing barriers to the free movement of tourists. Organizing and convening international Conferences, seminars, workshops, round tables and technical meetings on all aspects of tourism.
Preparation of draft international agreements on tourism. Examining vocational training programmes with a view to contributing to the establishment of suitable teaching programmes tailored to specific needs, especially in the developing countries.