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UN Tourism Becomes New Name of the UNWTO

The United Nations World Tourism Organization rebrands to UN Tourism to further its efforts to bolster world tourism for development, and driving social and economic change

By Todd R. Berger

2.1.24 UNWTO Becomes “UN Tourism” to Mark A New Era for Global Sector
Some of the flags of countries of the world; the UN World Tourism Organization is rebranding to UN Tourism. || Photo by xy, courtesy of Adobe

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) entered a new era in late January with a new name and brand: UN Tourism. With this new brand, the organization reaffirms its status as the United Nations’ specialized agency for tourism and the global leader of tourism for development and driving social and economic change to ensure that “people and planet” are always center stage.

To achieve this goal, UN Tourism engaged the services of Interbrand, a global branding agency. Interbrand successfully translated the Organization’s renewed vision for tourism into a new visual identity and brand narrative.

“As society progresses, the tourism sector, much like many other sectors, needs to transform to serve as a catalyst for prosperity at a universal scale,” says Zurab Pololikashvili, secretary-general of UN Tourism, in a prepared statement. “Enhancing the well-being of individuals, safeguarding the natural environment, stimulating economic advancement, and fostering international harmony are key goals that are the fundamental essence of UN Tourism. The organization takes on the role of driving a sustainable force that is now central to many economies.”

At the same time as the introduction of the new name, a brand narrative was meticulously crafted, one that seamlessly aligns with UN Tourism’s central mission and priorities. This narrative pivots around three main messages: the UN as a global altruistic organization, the notion of connecting humans around the world, and the concept of proactivity and movement.

By moving away from acronyms, UN Tourism adopts a more approachable stance and capitalizes on its strengths: the “UN”, signifying authority, and tourism, a simple and relatable concept for all. This change has been endorsed by the organization’s membership, highlighting its united support for the profound transformation and reinvention of UN Tourism in recent years, as it has become more agile, visible, and ever closer to its member states, partners, and the sector as a whole.

“Transitioning from UNWTO to UN Tourism marks a significant new phase for the organization,” says Borja Borrero, executive director of Interbrand. “The revised nomenclature offers several advantages, including simplicity, enhanced comprehension, improved legibility, and memorability. It also serves to clarify the agency’s sphere of influence within the global tourism industry. The new elements of the brand are the foundations of a distinct and proprietary image—one that is direct, relatable, and relevant for diverse audiences.”

With 160 member states and hundreds of private sector affiliates, UN Tourism has its headquarters in Madrid, Spain, and regional offices in Nara, Japan; Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; as well as forthcoming regional offices for the Americas (in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) and Africa (in Morocco). Its priorities center on promoting tourism for sustainable development in line with the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Global Goals. The organization promotes quality education, supports decent jobs in the sector, identifies talent and drives innovation, and accelerates tourism climate action and sustainability with:

  • Member states: Both as recipients of its services and assistance, and as active stakeholders in the organization’s work
  • Individuals: Specifically travelers and local communities whose lives flourish through the empowerment of the economy through tourism
  • Private, semiprivate, and public organizations: All engaging with UN Tourism’s work, including its data and insights, events, and products