Texas Tech University

Center for Global Understanding of Sustainable and Experiential Tourism (GUEST)



The Center for Global Understanding of Sustainable and Experiential Tourism (GUEST) has the great honor and recognition of being formally accepted as an affiliate member of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). Membership in the UNWTO is comprised of Member States (159), Associate Members (6), Affiliate Members (500+), and Observers (2). Affiliate members are comprised of companies, research institutions, educational institutions, destinations, and NGO's. The UNWTO adheres to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The mission of the UNWTO is to advance synergies between the Member States and the Affiliate Members to advance important initiatives. Through the UNWTO, Affiliate Members have access to Member States and other Affiliate Members for partnerships and access to research and funding. 

To achieve membership, GUEST needed first to establish that it has acted credibly in the area of sustainable initiatives. This would include research, partnerships, and international activity. GUEST was able to demonstrate its actions through the following activities:

    • Food Waste, San Jose, Costa Rica – 02/06/2019 UNWTO and World Wildlife Fund
    • GUEST followed up that meeting with an additional conference with ten large hospitality Groupo's in Costa Rica focused on targeted initiatives.
    • GUEST is working with Winnow to add their food waste technology to our campuses and with other large hospitality organizations in the US and Costa Rica.
    • GUEST participated in the IDB Sustainability Week 06/23-06/27/2019 also co-sponsored by the WWF
    • GUEST completed a four week educational program for 20 Latin American countries on Sustainable tourism and Digital Education with IILA and participation from the UNWTO July – August 2021
    • GUEST is also working with CRUSA in Costa Rica on sustainable tourism initiatives in the jungle region of Costa Rica. 

Once these initiatives were determined to be adequate, GUEST was able to secure a letter of support from the United States Department of Commerce International Trade Administration, from Jennifer Aguinaga, Deputy Director for Policy and Planning in the National Travel Tourism Office. This letter is required for every member who seeks to join. It is usually the largest deterrent to membership. With the letter of recommendation complete the application was informally accepted on December 1, 2021 and formally accepted on December 8, 2021 in Madrid, Spain. Dr. Robert Paul Jones Founding and Executive Director attended the meeting.