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Private sector flocks to UN agency that promotes responsible tourism

Private sector flocks to UN agency that promotes responsible tourism

The United Nations World Tourism Organization (WTO) today announced a surge in affiliate membership, with 23 more companies and institutions joining in June alone, in what it called a wider recognition by both governments and the private sector of its leadership role in promoting responsible, sustainable tourism.

Headquartered in Madrid, WTO plays a major role in stimulating public-private sector partnerships and encouraging the implementation of the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism to ensure that member countries, tourist destinations and businesses maximize the positive economic, social and cultural effects of tourism and fully reap its benefits, while minimizing its negative social and environmental impacts.

"This big increase in membership demonstrates that the private sector is recognizing the power of increasing public-private partnership, following the shift in WTO strategy towards becoming a more result-oriented international organization," Affiliate Members' Chief Executive Officer Antonio de la Morena said.

"It shows the Organization is now seen as a true leader of world tourism, not only by the sovereign states – five more of which will join WTO this year – but also by the private sector. Reinforcing the representation of the private sector and civil society is a priority of the Organization," he added, noting that United Nations guidelines call on its specialized agencies to expand the role of representatives of civil society.

Eleven of June's new members are from Europe, seven from the Americas, two from Africa and one each from Asia and the Middle East and include travel, hotel, media and cultural organizations.