The UNWTO.QUEST Programme seeks to reinforce quality and excellence in leadership, execution and governance capacities in Destination Management Organisations (DMOs).

This Programme offers a certification process where the DMO begins with an assessment, then follows an improvement process and finalises with an audit; and once the DMO complies with the UNWTO.QUEST Programme standards and criteria, they are issued with the “UNWTO.QUEST Certification”, valid for 4 years.

Target Audience

The UNWTO.QUEST Certification is aimed at destination management organizations:

  • from any country, whether or not a UNWTO Member State
  • with different structures or scopes, especially local and regional DMOs
  • of a diverse nature and legal status, including government departments or agencies, as well as statutory agencies, NGOs, private associations or any other type of entity


  • Provides a global framework of standards and criteria to evaluate DMO's effectiveness and efficiency.
  • Strengthens DMO's commitment with quality and excellence in tourism management.
  • Enhances competitiveness and sustainability of tourism destinations through the improvement of DMOs.
  • Acknowledges DMO's quality and excellence, by awarding the UNWTO.QUEST Certification.

Key performance areas

Through UNWTO.QUEST, UNWTO support DMOs in strengthening their three key areas of work: Strategic LeadershipEffective Execution and Efficient Governance, with a progressive implementation process that  provides assessment, reinforcement of capacities and audit of the DMO.


To ensure the successful implementation of the criteria and quality standards in the three areas, the UNWTO.QUEST Certification has a progressive implementation methodology that provides support, assistance and monitoring to the DMO with:

  • Assessment of the DMO's management plans and operations.
  • Improvement process to assist DMOs to reinforce their human resources' knowledge and professional skills.
  • Audit to assess the DMO's enhancement of strategic and operational activities quality and efficiency.


As a result of the process, UNWTO awards the UNWTO.QUEST Certification, valid for four years, to those DMOs that have successfully complied with the Certification's criteria and standards.


  • DMO, by implementing tools and best practices which strengthen their strategic leadership, effective implementation and efficient governance
  • Tourism Destinations, by contributing to their competitiveness and sustainability as a result of strategic decisions by the DMO as regards its planning, management and governance
  • Private sector stakeholders, who benefit from the enhancement of management capacities associated with greater synergies and public-private partnership building
  • Tourist, who will visit a destination where quality is a strategic management and distinctive feature promoted by the DMO

The Certification process comprises 3 phases, each with its corresponding processes:

  1. Assessment 
    1. Online self-assessment
    2. Pre-Audit
    3. Validation by UNWTO.QUEST Advisory Board
  2. Improvement Process
    1. Improvement plan
    2. Training
  3. Audit 
    1. Audit
    2. Validation by UNWTO.QUEST Advisory Board

UNWTO.QUEST has the following objectives:

  • Promote the quality and excellence of the OGD in the planning, management and governance of tourism development
  • Provide a framework of criteria and standards to guide and assist the OGD in destination management strategies
  • Strengthen the OGD's commitment to quality and excellence in tourism management
  • Improve the competitiveness and sustainability of tourism destinations by improving the DMO's strategic planning, management and governance
  • Recognize the quality and excellence of the DMO, granting the UNWTO.QUEST certification
  • Consolidate a network of DMO's UNWTO.QUEST certified around the world.

Once awarded with the UNWTO.QUEST Certification, the DMO acquires visibility & international recognition as an entity committed to quality and excellence in destination management, with:

  • Efficient and professional governance & destination management
  • Optimized human resources management and development of professional skills
  • A strategic plan which fosters the integration of all the stakeholders (public & private) in the destination management
  • Tools for innovation, sustainability and competitiveness of a destination
  • Leadership in the destination in terms of strategic planning which may encompass the various authorities, stakeholders and professionals and facilitates tourism sector partnerships towards a collective destination vision

As a Local or Regional Destination Management Organization, if you wish to apply for the UNWTO.QUEST Certification, you need to:

  • Fill out this Registration form
  • Provide proof of your DMO's official constitution and recognition within your country's legal framework, with your highest national tourism authority support letter
  • Obtain UNWTO approval to participate in the Certification process

For further information, please contact us via quest@unwto.org & quest@unwtothemis.org.

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