Geography of Tourism – III

Tourism organisations – WTO – IATA – ITDC – TTDC – Tourist centres of India.


For any industry or discipline to develop, an organization is, an essential pre-requisite as it plays a vital role in its proper planning, development and growth. The aim of the organization is to deploy into working functions or purposes so as to move efficiently to obtain a desired result from their combined effort. Members of an organisation with a similar discipline thus make a combined effort to develop their discipline.

In the field of tourism, organizations emerged with the objective of developing and promoting the area of tourism. The nationals and interna­tional tourism organizations have played a significant role in strengthen­ing the industry. Various national and international organizations in the field of tourism are in operation today. Some of these organizations are specifically linked with the development and promotion of tourism and others deal with the co-ordination and control of a group of subsidiary services such as accommodation, catering, travel agency etc.

The history of co-operative endeavour in tourism can be traced back to the year 1908. Three countries – France, Spain and Portugal felt the need for pooling their interest of promoting tourism and founded the ‘Franco Hispano Portuguese Federation of Tourist association’. This might perhaps be considered as the first international tourist organization. Although started in a modest way and limited to a small region in Europe, this association made a beginning in co-operative endeavour in the field of tourism and paved the way for such future initiatives on a very large scale.

United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)

The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), an inter-governmental technical body dealing with all aspects of tourism began its legal existence on January 2, 1975. It was originally called as World Tourism Organisation, prior to the World Trade Organisation which was formulated in 1990. The rapid expansion of travel had created the need for a world body able to deal with tourism problems at the governmental level and this led to the formation of UNWTO. The headquarters of the organisation were set up in Madrid (Spain) in January 1976. The UNWTO has a very emphatic technical character.

World Tourism Organization is the United Nations agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism. As the leading international organization in the field of tourism, UNWTO promotes tourism as a driver of economic growth, inclusive development and environmental sustainability and offers leadership and support to the sector in advancing knowledge and tourism policies worldwide.

UNWTO encourages the implementation of the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism, to maximize tourism’s socio-economic contribution while minimizing its possible negative impacts, and is committed to promoting tourism as an instrument in achieving the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), geared towards reducing poverty and fostering sustainable development. UNWTO generates market knowledge, promotes competitive and sustainable tourism policies and instruments, fosters tourism education and training, and works to make tourism an effective tool for development through technical assistance projects in over 100 countries around the world.

UNWTO’s membership includes 155 countries, 7 territories and over 400 Affiliate Members representing the private sector, educational institutions, tourism associations and local tourism authorities.


➢ Promotion and development of tourism with a view to contributing to economic development, international understanding, peace, 129

prosperity and universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction to either race, sex, language or religion.

➢ Uplift and stimulate the interest of the developing countries in the field of tourism.

➢ Maintain effective collaboration with the appropriate organs of the UN and its specialized agencies.


The UNWTO performs a number of activities for its members relating to promotion and development of tourism. The major functions include:

➢ Constant review of tourism trends and developments and exercising vigilance over changes in world economic and social conditions affecting tourism, market fluctuations and maintenance of standards within the tourism sector.

➢ Clearing house for all available information on international and domestic tourism including statistical data, legislation and regulations, facilities and special events.

➢ Systematic collection, analysis and dissemination of data on various aspects of tourism.

➢ Collecting legislative texts, regulations and documentation on all aspects of travel.

➢ Conducting research studies covering tourism markets, plant and enterprises, physical planning and area development, promotion and marketing, economic analysis and financing techniques etc.

➢ Regular supply of studies, as well as updated information on trends in the various fields of tourism to its members.

➢ Fostering the adoption of measures in cooperation with competent specialized bodies regarding simplifying frontier formalities and removing barriers to the free movement of tourists.

➢ Organizing and convening international conferences, seminars, workshops, round tables and technical meetings on all aspects of tourism.130

➢ Preparation of draft international agreements on tourism

➢ Examining vocational training programmes with a view to contributing to the establishment of suitable teaching programmes tailored to specific needs, specially in the developing countries.


There are three categories of members in UNWTO. They are

Full Members:- They consist of all sovereign states. As of 2010, its membership included 154 member states.

Associate Members:- They are the territories or groups of territories not responsible for their external relations but whose membership is approved by the state assuming responsibility for their external relations. As of 2010 there were seven associate members (Flemish Community, Puerto Rico, Aruba, Hong Kong, Macau, Madeira, Netherlands Antilles), two observers (Holy See, Palestine). 15 of these members have withdrawn from the organization for different periods in the past: Australia, Bahamas, Bahrain, Canada, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Kuwait, Malaysia, Nicaragua, Panama, Philippines, Qatar, Thailand and Puerto Rico.

Affiliate Members:- They are international bodies, both inter governmental and non-governmental concerned with specialized interests in tourism, as well as commercial and non-commercial bodies and associations hose activities are related to the aims of WTO or fall within its competence. There are some 350 affiliate members, representing the private sector, educational institutions, tourism associations and local tourism authorities.


General Assembly

The General Assembly is the supreme organ of the Organization. Its ordinary sessions, held every two years, are attended by delegates of the Full and Associate Members, as well as representatives from the Business Council. It is the most important meeting of senior tourism officials and high-level sector from all over the world representatives of the private.131

Regional Commissions

Established in 1975 as subsidiary organs of the General Assembly, the six Regional Commissions normally meet once a year. They enable member States to maintain contact with one another and with the Secretariat between sessions of the General Assembly, to which they submit their proposals and convey their concerns. Each Commission elects one Chairman and its Vice-Chairmen from among its Members for a term of two years commencing from one session to the next session of the Assembly.

Executive Council

The Executive Council›s task is to take all necessary measures, in consultation with the Secretary-General, for the implementation of its own decisions and recommendations of the Assembly and report thereon to the Assembly. The Council meets at least twice a year. The Council consists of Full Members elected by the Assembly in the proportion of one Member for every five Full Members, in accordance with the Rules of Procedure laid down by the Assembly with a view to achieving fair and equitable geographical distribution.

The term of office of Members elected to the Council is four years and elections for one-half of the Council membership are held every two years. Spain is a Permanent Member of the Executive Council.


➢ World Committee on Tourism Ethics

➢ Programme Committee

➢ Committee on Budget and Finance

➢ Committee on Market and Competitiveness

➢ Committee on Statistics and the Tourism Satellite account

➢ Sustainable Development of Tourism Committee

➢ Committee on Poverty Reduction

➢ Committee for the Review of Applications for Affiliate Membership132


The Secretariat is led by Secretary-General ad interim Taleb Rifai of Jordan, who supervises about 110 full-time staff at UNWTO›s Madrid Headquarters. He is assisted by the Deputy Secretary-General. These officials are responsible for implementing UNWTO›s programme of work and serving the needs of Members. The Affiliate Members are supported by a full-time Executive Director at the Madrid Headquarters. The Secretariat also includes a regional support office for Asia-Pacific in Osaka, Japan, financed by the Japanese Government.

The organization is performing extremely useful service of a concrete and creative character by facilitating the exchange of technical information, the making of specialized studies, the holding of special seminars adapted to world regional requirements and advanced vocational training courses. The essentially practical nature of its work programme, tailored as it is to regional requirements, takes full cognizance of the problems peculiar to countries and regions in all stages of its development, such as investments, financial questions, physical planning and area development, economic analysis, marketing and market surveys- all this not only with a secretarial approach but with a comprehensive concern from the point of view of the state.

The creation of UNWTO coincided with the universal recognition of tourism as an important instrument of economic and social development and its consequent ascendancy to full government responsibility. An inter-governmental body of tourism officials, such as the UNWTO is empowered to act in the name of their governments and speak in terms of the impact of tourism on the balance of payments. The creation of UNWTO thus is not only a proof that the states are fully conscious of their own responsibilities in the field of tourism, but also of the establishment of tourism to its rightful ranking at the international level.

The UNWTO’s activities cover all sectors of tourism on a worldwide basis. It provides an international forum where tourism officials, whether governmental or non-governmental, can discuss problems and exchange ideas. Representatives of the private sector also have access to its membership. UNWTO works in close cooperation with almost all international organizations, the UNO in particular, as well as with commercial and non-commercial bodies involved in tourism.

International Air Transport Association (IATA)

In the business of travel, the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the world organization of scheduled airlines played a central role since its inception in the year 1945. A world association of about 200 Active Members and 35 Associate Members, the International Air Transport Association was a result of the rapid expansion in the network of international airlines in the years following the Second World War. A need for the worldwide regulation of air traffic including co-coordinating international air fares and rates was felt and consequently an international conference was called by President Franklin D. Roosevelt of the United States of America at Chicago from November 1 to December 7, 1944.

The convention constituted two permanent bodies, namely, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). However, before reaching the position that now it occupies in the field of aviation, IATA passed through several stages, in parallel with a spectacular development of commercial aviation. Its modest beginning date back to 1919 when the International Air Traffic Association was founded in Hague by half a dozen European airlines that had just been created right from the beginning; they recognised the need to cooperate in setting up a network for rationalizing airlines business.

The International Air Traffic Association expanded steadily with the development of air services in the world. Among other things, it drew up the general formula for tickets and transport documents adopted in 1927. The innovations and improvements introduced by the association progressively placed unique tools at the disposal of the industry. In November 1944, as the World War was coming to an end, 54 states met in Chicago to lay the first foundation of the new system that would soon be needed by civil aviation. The Conference led to the creation of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the international body setup by government to establish universal norms for the technical regulation of civil aviation. Indirectly, this conference also was responsible for the foundation of the International Air Transport Association – a non-governmental body officially set up in Havana in April 1945 – which in practice, carried on the task assumed by the former IATA.


  1. i) To promote safe, regular and economical air transport for the benefit of the people of the world, to foster air commerce and to study the problems connected therewith;
  2. ii) To provide means for collaboration among the air transport enterprises engaged directly or indirectly in international air transport service.

iii) To cooperate with the International Civil Aviation Organisation and other international organisations.

IATA Organisation

The IATA is a voluntary, non-political and democratic organisa­tion. Membership is automatically open to any operating company which his been licensed to provide scheduled air service by a government eligible for membership in ICAO. Airlines engaged directly in international oper­ations are active members, while domestic airlines are associate members.

The IATA administration is headed by a Director General and five Assistant Directors General. The Association has two main offices, one in Montreal and the other in Geneva. Regional Technical Directors are based in Bangkok, Geneva, London, Nairobi, and Rio de Janeiro and Regional Directors (Special Assignments) in Singapore and Buenos Aires. IATA Traffic Service Offices are located in New York and Singapore. IATA’ budget is financed from the dues paid by its members, largely in proportion to the part of the total international air traffic carried by each airline. Some IATA activities are self-supporting through charges for services rendered.

A wide range of services provided by IATA includes the following:

➢ The global planning of international timetables,

➢ The standardisation of the inter-company communications and reservation system,

➢ The international coordination of telecommunication networks and computer systems,139

➢ The single formula for tickets and airway bills,

➢ The training of travel and freight agents,

➢ The regulation of legal question of general concern, to develop security measures, and

➢ The examination and solving of the problems raised by tourism, the flow of passengers and goods at the airports, and to establish procedures and technical norms.


IATA member airlines are registered in some 126 nations. Their routes cross almost every country of the world at one time or another. It is the IATA’s operational task to ensure that the aircraft utilised to carry the world passengers and goods are able to proceed with maximum safety and efficiency, under clearly defined and universally understood regulations. It is IATA’s commercial objective to ensure that people, cargo and mail can move anywhere in the global network as easily as though they were on a single airline within a single country. Plainly these two categories of IATA activities are closely related in their connection with the cost of airline operation, the carrier’s charges to the public, and the desire to keep both of these as low as possible and in keeping with safety norms.

Trade Association Activities

IATA Finances

The IATA Financial Committee deals with all aspects of accounting and settlements between airlines in respect of the business they do with one another or on one another’s behalf. It is also concerned with many of the airlines’ common problems in regard to currency and exchange, taxation, charges, insurance and statistics.

An example of IATA’s financial work is the IATA Clearing House, through which tile airlines settle monthly accounts for interline revenue transactions. It enables them to collect and pay their worldwide debts simultaneously by single cash settlement in either dollar or convertible sterling, regardless of the number of currencies involved. 140

The Legal Committee

The Legal Committee of IATA, composed of experts drawn from more than 20 airlines, is concerned with all legal matters having a on international air transport. One of its main activities is formulation of the airlines’ views in the development of international conventions affecting such matters as the liability of air carriers to their customers and to other parties, the commission of offence on board aircraft, the carriage of nuclear materials and the carriage of airmail.

Technical Committee

Cooperation of the airlines in operational and technical matters is challenged through the IATA Technical Committee, its annual 1technical conference and its various global and regional working groups. IATA technical activity is founded upon full exchange of information and experience among all the airlines.

IATA has played, and continues to play, an important role in the drafting of the ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices which form the accepted international pattern for the technical regulation of civil aviation, and cooperates closely with ICAO to encourage governments to implement them fully and keep them up-to-date. IATA works in much the same way with other organisations such as the International Telecommunications Union, the World Meteorological Organisation and the International Organisation for Standardisation.

Traffic Conferences and Activities

To unite its member airlines into a single commercial network, IATA has produced a series interline agreements between them ( to which many non-IATA and domestic airlines and sea carriers are parties as well) covering all phases of passenger, baggage and cargo handling, reservation

The Traffic Conference process arises from the peculiar nature of air transport. Every inch of the world’s surface is accessible by air, and the airlines fly between most of their major cities over a maze of interrelated routes. Yet each government reserves complete control over its own share 141

of the airspace and the right to determine what its air services may charge the public. International fares and rates and conditions which underline them must therefore be fixed by international agreements in which virtually every country has some direct or indirect concern.

Tariff Coordination Activities

The negotiation of international fares and rates for submission to various governments arises from the special nature of air transport. Airlines operate between most major cities, criss-crossing routes. For an airline any country is accessible by air. Today governments in most countries of the world reserve control over their own airspace as also over what air carriers may charge the public for using their services. The subject of international fares and rates and the conditions which underline them are the subjects in which almost every country has some direct or indirect concern.


Another service of traffic is the facilitation section. In an industry based on speed, economy and service, red—tape is a serious matter. Customs, immigration and health regulations hamper and delay the efficient transportation of passengers and cargo. Delays can add millions of dollars to the cost of operation. With international airlines operating in almost 200 countries, and their operations subject to the regulation requirement of numerous public authorities in every country, cooperation becomes very vital. Cooperation starts with the airlines themselves. A programme to cut red-tape is worked out and constantly reviewed by the IATA Facilitation Advisory Committee. For implementation, it passes into the hands of more than 10 airlines personnel at the headquarters of their respective

IATA Allied Service

IATA performs many other widely varied functions. It collects and issues industry statistics. It is a documentation centre and publishes on behalf of its members, issuing internal manuals, tabulations of airlines distances, technical surveys, reports and other important industry information.

India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC)

The India Tourism Development Corporation Limited (ITDC) is Hospitality, retail and Education company owned by Government of India, under Ministry of Tourism. Established in 1966, it owns over 17 properties under the Ashok Group of Hotels brand, across India. ITDC came into existence in October 1966 and has been the prime mover in the progressive development, promotion and expansion of tourism in the country. Mission Statement: To provide leadership and play a catalytic role in the development of tourism infrastructure in the country and to achieve excellence in its strategic business units through professionalism, efficiency, value for money and customer focused service.

Broadly, the main objectives of the Corporation are:

➢ To function as an efficient corporate house with improved productivity levels and profit margins.

➢ To be a major player in the development of tourism infrastructure in the country.

➢ Achieve high level of productivity of its employees by way of better training, motivation, and HRD techniques.

➢ To play an active role in associating State Governments and State Tourism Development Corporations in conceptualizing and execution of tourism projects, publicity, promotion and training.

➢ To rationalize/ right-size the manpower to have a lean, thin and efficient organization.

➢ To create value for the shareholders.

➢ To ensure customer delight by providing value for money.

➢ To construct, take over and manage existing hotels and market hotels, Beach Resorts Travellers’ Lodges/Restaurants;

➢ To provide transport, entertainment, shopping and conventional services;

➢ To produce, distribute, tourist publicity material;

➢ To render consultancy-cum-managerial services in India and abroad;

➢ To carry on the business as Full-Fledged Money Changers (FFMC), restricted money changers etc

➢ To provide innovating, dependable and value for money solutions to the needs of tourism development and engineering industry including providing consultancy and project implementation.

The Corporation is running hotels, restaurants at various places for tourists, besides providing transport facilities. In addition, the Corpo­ration is engaged in production, distribution and sale of tourist publicity literature and providing entertainment and duty free shopping facilities to the tourists. The Corporation has diversified into new avenues/innova­tive services like Full-Fledged Money Changer (FFMC) services, engineer­ing related consultancy services etc. The Ashok Institute of Hospitality & Tourism Management of the Corporation imparts training and education in the field of tourism and hospitality. Presently, ITDC has a network of eight Ashok Group of Hotels, six Joint Venture Hotels, 2 Restaurants (in­cluding one Airport Restaurant), 12 Transport Units, one Tourist Service Station, 37 Duty Free Shops at International as well as Domestic Customs Airports, one Tax Free outlet and two Sound & Light Shows.


TTDC was incorporated during June 1971 under the Companies Act 1956. The entire share capital of Rs.10.43 Crores has been subscribed by the State Government. TTDC was formed with the objective of promoting tourism in Tamilnadu by providing infrastructure facilities of transport and accommodation. To fulfil this objective, TTDC has expanded its activities into 3 main operations, namely, Hotels, Transport and Fairs. TTDC is at present having 53 hotels across Tamil Nadu. Out of the 53 hotels under the control of TTDC, TTDC is currently operating 22 hotels. All hotels have been upgraded to ensure comfortable stay for the tourists. The Transport division is having a fleet of 13 coaches operating tours ranging from half-day to 14 days covering the southern states. TTDC is having an exhibition in Island Ground, Chennai with 21 acres for conducting exhibitions.