The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) was conceptualized in the early 1980s when a group of CEOs came to the realization that although Travel & Tourism was the largest service industry in the world and the biggest provider of jobs, nobody knew it. There was no consolidated data or voice for the industry to give the message to elected official and policy makers.
WTTC was established in 1990 and today the Council is positioned as the global business leaders’ forum for Travel & Tourism, comprising the Chairmen and Chief Executives of 100 of the world’s foremost organizations, representing all regions and sectors of the industry; a membership list is attached.
WTTC works to raise awareness of Travel & Tourism as one of the world's largest industries, employing approximately 230 million people and generating over 10 per cent of world GDP, WTTC works together with governments to raise awareness of the economic and social importance of the industry across the world.
WTTC’s mission focuses on three main areas:
Driving the Agenda: Raising awareness of the impact of Travel & Tourism and working with governments to make the industry an economic and job-creating priority
The Facilitator: Helping industry participants to understand, anticipate, interpret and act on global key regional development
The Networking Forum: WTTC is the business leaders’ forum to which Travel & Tourism players aspire
By 2003, events around the world such as the September 11th attacks, war in Iraq, the SARS crisis and increased terrorism meant that WTTC had to work to rebuild confidence among travellers. The Global Travel & Tourism Summit in 2003 was opened up to global press and media for the first time and the theme – Building New Tourism – came out of the atmosphere at the time. The outcome of the Summit shaped the Council’s future vision and led to the launch of the Blueprint for New Tourism. The Blueprint for New Tourism provides a new strategic framework to ensure that Travel & Tourism works for everyone in the future. It promotes Travel & Tourism as a partnership between the private and public sectors, matching the needs of economies, local and regional authorities and local communities with those of business. The three main messages that form the framework for the Blueprint for New Tourism are: 1. Governments recognizing Travel & Tourism as a top priority 2. Business balancing economics with people, culture and environment 3. A shared pursuit of long-term growth and prosperity See below for external links to the full Blueprint for New Tourism.
When the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) was established in 1990, the founding Members decided that the quantification of Travel & Tourism's impact on world and national economies would be the most important contribution they could make to achieve their goal of raising awareness among policy leaders and decision-makers of Travel & Tourism's economic contribution and its potential for creating wealth and employment around the world. The subsequent 16 years of investment in research made a significant contribution to the development of the new international standard for Tourism Satellite Accounting (TSA) research, adopted in 2001 by the United Nations Statistical Commission.  WTTC has also developed a Crisis Impact Forecasting Model to assess the potential impact of a crisis on the industry within 48 hours. It was put into place following the crises of the London and Egypt bombings in 2005.
Over the years, WTTC and its research partner, UK-based Oxford Economics (OE), have endeavoured to create a system of Tourism Satellite Accounting research, which now covers 176 economies around the world. Using a combination of macro-economic research and forecasts, national accounting data/information, Travel & Tourism variables and econometric modelling, WTTC/OE have produced a system of research covering many concepts of Travel & Tourism 'Demand', from personal consumption to business purchases, capital investment, government spending and exports. This information is then translated into economic concepts of production, such as gross domestic product (GDP) and employment, which can be compared with other industries and the economy as a whole to provide statistical information that can assist in policy- and business decision-making. Today, WTTC produces annual TSA forecasts for 176 countries and 15 regions and carries out commissioned TSA reports for a growing number of countries, regions, and cities each year.
WTTC has established two Regional Initiatives in India and China and is now working more extensively in China. Due to a consensus from Members of the Council, a Middle East Chapter has been founded to work together on region-specific issues, and similarly in Europe, an EU Steering Committee has been meeting regularly to drive WTTC's lobbying in Brussels. The purpose of these initiatives is to bring together key players from across the region to work together to accelerate industry growth.
The Council works with and consults with its Members to produce policy papers covering a wide variety of topical issues facing the industry. These papers are produced with the aim of presenting the Council's collective stance and putting forward guidelines on how to best meet challenges or optimise opportunities. WTTC's Policy statements can be region-specific or globally applicable, setting out strategies for areas of business ranging from corporate social responsibility to tackling infrastructure, human resources, and climate change. WTTC also launched the Green Globe environmental awareness programme which became an autonomous organization in 1998.
The Global Travel & Tourism Summit is an annual WTTC gathering for both public and private sector leaders of travel and tourism. The Summit aims to facilitate meaningful dialogue among the world's Travel & Tourism industry and government leaders. Past locations of the Summit include Vilamoura, Doha, New Delhi, Washington D.C., and Lisbon. The 8th Global Travel & Tourism Summit took place from 20 to 22 April, 2008 in Dubai, UAE.
The Tourism for Tomorrow Awards were set up in 1989 by the Federation of Tour Operators to encourage action from all sectors of the industry to protect the environment. WTTC took over the Awards in 2004. Awarded annually, they recognise and promote the world's leading examples of best practice in responsible tourism development across four categories:
Destination Award, Conservation Award, Investor in People Award, Global Tourism Business Award
The winning entry for each category is then invited to an awards ceremony at a special Gala Dinner at the Global Travel & Tourism Summit.