The Affiliate Members Programme



“The United Nations and business need each other. We need your innovation, your initiative, your technological prowess. But business also needs the United Nations. In a very real sense, the work of the United Nations can be viewed as seeking to create the ideal enabling environment within which business can thrive”.

                                                                               Former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Since its creation in 1945, the United Nations´ (UN) relationship with the private sector has progressively expanded, until being recognized today as an essential element for the achievement of United Nations´ goals and in particular of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Though the private and public sectors often have differing motivations and interests, they also share many common objectives which, in today´s globalized world, can be more effectively tackled through joint collaboration and the establishment of partnerships.

Like other United Nations agencies, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the specialized United Nations agency responsible for the promotion of tourism, has long considered the private sector to be an integral partner in fulfilling its general mandate of promoting sustainable development in tourism. Today, this is particularly relevant in the light of the recent adoption of 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly.

The UNWTO Affiliate Members Programme serves as the major gateway for alliances and collaboration between the private and public sectors in tourism. Bringing together over 500 companies, educational & research institutions, destinations and NGOs, this interactive platform provides a space for members to engage in dialogues, share information and take further action. Its principal mission is to foster synergies among Affiliate Members and State Members and promote the exchange of knowledge among experts. Most importantly, the Affiliate Members Programme works towards aligning private sector strategies with the UN Goals and offer to its Affiliate Members the opportunity to engage in tourism development.

Partnership needs to take a variety of approaches to correctly tackle the individual necessities of every Affiliate Member and enhance their unique value. Mindful of this, the Affiliate Members Programme has developped a variety of tools and structured its basic framework according to the four following fundamental goals:

1.       Exchange of expertise:

To address the goal of exchange of expertise, UNWTO creates Networks, in which leading experts can become members of working groups, focusing on various areas of expertise in tourism that bring together members from different backgrounds around a common interest or goal. For more information on the networks, please click here.

2.       Knowledge generation

UNWTO Affiliate Members Programme has developed a prototype methodology to serve as a framework for public and private sector cooperation on tourism development, sharing knowledge and creating projects that can ethically and sustainably improve a locality’s competitiveness. Furthermore, UNWTO publishes Global Reports in which Member States, Affiliate Members, expert consultants, market research institutes and leading global travel networks actively participate to provide wide-ranging and current data and trends. 

3.       Knowledge dissemination

The range of UNWTO conferences and seminars, held throughout the year, bring together experts, stakeholders and opinion leaders to present their areas of expertise and all Affiliate Members are encouraged to actively participate to ensure representative, wide-ranging and thought-provoking content. 

4.       Talent development

Capacity building and education are crucial components of the Affiliate Members Programme. Initiatives include training, internship and scholarship programmes, as well as the development of knowledge management platforms and networks, in which the most up-to-date tools for fostering skilled workforce in specific industries of tourism can be exchanged and developed.


For more information on the Affiliate Members Programme, please visit the following pages:


Download the 2017 UNWTO Affiliate Members Programme Action Plan


For more information on the objectives, main lines of action and initiatives of the UNWTO Affiliate Members Programme, please download the 2017 UNWTO Affiliate Members Action Plan at the following link (in English only).