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What does the World Travel and Tourism Council do?

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The World Travel and Tourism Council is an important player in the world of travel. But chances are, you might not have even heard of them! This post looks at what the WTTC is, and what it does…

World Travel and Tourism Council

What is the World Travel and Tourism Council?

Founded in 1990, the WTTC is a forum for the travel and tourism industry. Made up of members of the global business community, the World Travel and Tourism Council works with governments around the world to raise awareness about the industry.

The WTTC headquarters are in London. It is a non-profit organisation and represents the industry worldwide. 

Who is involved in the WTTC?

There are many members of the World Travel and Tourism Council. Currently there are seven directors, each heading different sections of the organisation as a whole. The members themselves are various CEOs, chairs and presidents of travel and tourism-based companies. They represent hotels, airports, car rental companies and more. Over 200 companies (such as Hilton, Expedia, Norwegian Cruise Line) have WTTC representatives – these companies make up around 30% of the sector and account for over two-thirds of a trillion US dollars in turnover.

Memberships allows you access to the World Travel and Tourism Council Global Summit. This provides networking opportunities and gives members access to regional travel and tourism events throughout the year. Being a member also grants access to plenty of worldwide research, practices and policy papers. There is an online community, too!

World Travel and Tourism Council

What do the World Travel and Tourism Council actually do?

Despite not being something that automatically springs to mind when you think of travel, the WTTC do a lot within the industry. They also have an indirect impact on your travels. This is because they bring people together to learn from each other, make decisions and offer advice – these things in turn may shape the tour that you go on, the hotel that you stay at or the airport experience you have.


One of the main aims of the WTTC is to conduct extensive research into the industry. Every year they produce the Travel & Tourism Economic Impact Reports. This is the crux of their research. Included is a global report alongside 24 regional and 184 country reports. As the name suggests, they calculate the economic impact of the travel industry and include the following:

  • Direct and total GDP impact
  • Direct/indirect employment
  • Investment 
  • Exports
  • One and ten year forecasts

Global Summit

The World Travel and Tourism Council also host a global summit each year. This generally takes place in April. It is invitation-only, and has around 1,000 attendees. The summit – held in a different location each year – involves multiple talks, interviews, panels and more. Each year there is a theme. The talks and panels reflect this, and there is plenty of opportunity for attendees to network with each other and learn more about the theme and everything that comes with it. Speakers include CEOs, prime ministers, senior partners and various advisors from travel companies and destinations across the globe.

Highlights from the 2019 global summit.


Finally, the World Travel and Tourism Council give out awards. Council members form the jury of the World Travel Awards (founded in 1993) which has been described as the Oscars of the travel industry. Awards are given at both global and international levels. The categories include ‘leading casino resort’ and ‘leading conference hotel’ among many others. 

The WTTC also has the Tourism For Tomorrow awards. The five categories are:

  • Social Impact Award
  • Destination Stewardship Award
  • Climate Action Award
  • Investing in People Award
  • Changemakers Award

Each category has been carefully chosen to highlight how travel and tourism can change the world for the better. Namely, how travelling can have economic, social, environmental and cultural benefits on places and people. Entries for the awards come from businesses throughout the industry. These include resorts, airlines, chains and destinations.

What is the World Travel and Tourism Council particularly interested in?

The WTTC has certain priorities. While it aims to provide advice, statistics and research about many aspects of the travel and tourism industry, there are some that are more important than others. The World Travel and Tourism Council prioritises three key areas:

Security and Travel Facilitation 

The WTTC is working towards showing that improved bias facilitation helps to drive GDP growth/job creation. They also wanted to show that travel can be both ‘secure’ and ‘seamless’ – that these are not opposing goals. Systems are already strained due to the increase in travel. The World Travel and Tourism Council want to research and advise on this.

Crisis Preparedness, Management & Recovery

The WTTC helps to provide the industry with an understanding of any emerging, escalating and ongoing risks that lie ahead. They also aid in equipping both the public and private sectors with tools, protocols and solutions. This helps to support them in preparing and responding to any crises that do occur.

Sustainable Growth

As the travel industry continues to grow, the World Travel and Tourism Council want to ensure it does so in a sustainable way. This is of the upmost importance to the WTTC. Here are six of the most important sustainability issues for them:

  • Climate and Environment Action
  • Destination Stewardship
  • Future of Work
  • Illegal Trade in Wildlife
  • Human Trafficking
  • Sustainability Reporting

With these three main priorities in mind, the World Travel and Tourism Council are able to provide guidance to the travel and tourism industry as a whole. Their work is invaluable and, as mentioned, has an impact on your travels! Decisions that your airlines, tour companies, travel agents, hotels and tourist boards make are very often advised by correspondence from and with the WTTC.

So next time you travel, remember that the WTTC has helped you get there!

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