Urban Tourism

 The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has been addressing Urban Tourism as a type of tourism activity which takes place in an urban space with its inherent attributes characterized by non-agricultural based economy such as administration, manufacturing, trade and services and by being nodal points of transport. Urban/city destinations offer a broad and heterogeneous range of cultural, architectural, technological, social and natural experiences and products for leisure and business.

Tourism along with other sectors currently constitutes a central component in the economy, social life and the geography of many cities in the world. Research indicates that the volume of tourism demand for city destinations has increased by approximately fifty per cent worldwide in the last decade.

Cities are currently accommodating more than fifty per cent of the world population and generating more than 60% of global GDP. By 2030 urban areas will host two-thirds of the world’s population, their population in developing countries will double and the area covered could be triple (UNHABITAT). Therefore it is essential to monitor tourism performance in urban destinations and clearly address the areas for improvement with the aim of assisting policy makers and local stakeholders in their efforts to take strategic action for urban tourism governance and management.

UNWTO promotes a  globally shared vision and a strategic approach to re-address the tools to adapt to the new paradigms in urban tourism while achieving coherence among the tourism activities, urban development policies and the economic and social benefits for the local inhabitants through integrated planning, efficient governance, knowledge management and professionalism in operations.

The programme supports its Members through:

1) Anual Global City Summits:

1st UNWTO Global Summit on City Tourism, 2012, Istanbul, Turkey

2nd UNWTO Global Summit on City Tourism, 2013, Moscow, Russian Federation

3rd UNWTO Global Summit on City Tourism, 2014, Barcelona, Spain

4th UNWTO Global Summit on City Tourism, 2015, Marrakesh, Morocco

5th UNWTO Global Summit on City Tourism, 2016, Luxor, Egypt

6th UNWTO Global Summit on City Tourism, 2017, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia


2) Research Projects and Workshops:
​UNWTO-WTCF City Tourism Performance Research: 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

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