The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) is the United Nations agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism. UNWTO offers leadership and support to the sector in advancing knowledge and tourism policies worldwide.

UNWTO’s membership includes 156 countries, 6 Associate Members and over 400 Affiliate Members representing the private sector, educational institutions, tourism associations and local tourism authorities.

On September 2016, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Mr. Thorbjørn Jagland, and the Secretary General of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, Mr. Taleb Rifai, signed a two-year Memorandum of Cooperation to strengthen synergies and joint actions between the two International Organisations.

The objective of the Memorandum is to enhance cooperation between UNWTO and the Council of Europe within the framework of the Enlarged Partial Agreement on Cultural Routes (EPA), promote and foster close collaboration in the field of sustainable cultural tourism development and identify initiatives to enhance the visibility of the two International Organisations at international, national and regional levels. UNWTO is Observer to EPA since 2015.

This collaboration already counts its pioneer project: the Phoenicians’ Route Cultural Tourism Programme, a joint programme contributing to the development of a new model of sustainable and inclusive tourism, designed to provide a more authentic, community-based experience along three Cultural Route Tourism Itineraries developed.