The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), with its UNWTO.Themis Foundation, have developed the UNWTO.QUEST Program – a Certification System for Destination Management Organizations (DMOs) to promote quality and excellence of DMOs, in planning, governance and performance of tourism development.
The UNWTO.QUEST Program is a strategic tool that allows DMOs to take part in an ongoing improvement process in order to build internal capacities that will add to the competitiveness and sustainability of their destinations.
Through the UNWTO.QUEST Program, the UNWTO and its UNWTO.Themis Foundation accompany DMOs in a process aimed to strengthen three key performance areas in destination management: Strategic Leadership, Effective Execution and Efficient Governance.
To ensure the successful implementation of criteria and quality standards in the three areas of action, the UNWTO.QUEST programme has a progressive implementation methodology that provides support, assistance and monitoring to the DMO.
These actions are implemented through UNWTO.Themis, the education and training arm of UNWTO, with special emphasis on capacity building and the enhancement of professional skills within the DMO.
The UNWTO.QUEST Certification System aims at: a) providing a globally consistent and credible framework of criteria and indicators for evaluating DMO effectiveness and efficiency; b) creating a brand identity for the DMO; c) providing capacity building through continuous guidance and training, and d) establishing an inclusive and dynamic network of DMOs and expertise for excellence and quality assurance.
To ensure the successful implementation of criteria and technical standards in the three areas of action, the UNWTO.QUEST program has a progressive implementation methodology that provides support, assistance and monitoring to the DMO. The program consists of three consecutive stages: i) initial self-assessment of the management plans and operations of DMOs; ii) improvement process through capacity building and training activities; and iii) audit and certification to recognize the enhancement of quality and efficiency of strategic and operational activities of DMOs. 
As a result of the process, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) awards the UNWTO.QUEST Certification valid for four years, with possibility of renewal, to those DMOs that have successfully complied with the programme criteria and standards. Consequently, the DMO will acquire a global recognition as an entity with efficient governance and high performance.


UNWTO-WTCF City Tourism Performance Research 

Taking into account the fact that by 2050, 70% of the world’s population is estimatded to be living in cities and only by 2025, cities will contribute over 30 trillion US dollars to the world economy annually, it is essential to monitor the tourism performance in urban destinations and clearly address the areas for improvement with the aim of assisting the policy makers and all the other stakeholders in their efforts to take strategic action for urban tourism governance and management.

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the World Tourism Cities Federation (WTCF) jointly launched the “UNWTO-WTCF City Tourism Performance Research”, an instrument with a set of criteria and a platform for exchange of information that can be used globally to benchmark tourism performance in urban destinations. The research is conducted by a group of experts who collected field data in order to have more in-depth understanding of each city involved in the initiative on the following:
  • Destination Management
  • Economic Perspective
  • Social and Cultural Perspective
  • Environmental Perspective
  • Technology & New Business Models
Although the City Tourism Performance Research is a way of qualitatively and quantitatively measuring the tourism performances of cities, the output in numbers is not the objective. In the results we are focusing mainly on the individual cases and not the absolute numbers in order to rank them next to each other.