The World Tourism Organization is probably best known for a diplomatic and often high-brow approach to travel affecting the travel, tourism and hospitality industry.
That's fair enough, given that it's an agency of the equally diplomatic and high-brow United Nations.
Much of its work and focus is, rightly, on global issues such as sustainability, education and training, social responsibility, legislation within governments and the collection of tourist data.
But it rarely has much of a say about the finer details of online travel, let alone some of the disruptive and tech-led trends affecting the industry.
The times they are a changin', though, with the sharing economy front and centre in the minds of many execs in the industry.
UNWTO secretary-general, Taleb Rifai, used a speech at the ITB Berlin this week to highlight the rise of the "so-called sharing economy".
Rifai says the industry is now "living through what many have called the fourth industrial revolution".
"Screens are everywhere, connecting and empowering billions of people across the planet in real time, providing a voice to the silent and creating a new sense of belonging to a new-found global community.
"Technology is rapidly changing consumers’ behaviour, business models, including the ‘so called sharing economy’ and destination management.
And then comes the warning:
"We need to better understand the impact of technology on our sector and maximize through innovation the new opportunities it has created to improve the competitiveness of destinations, make travel safer and easier, and manage our natural resources more effectively."
Whilst the UNWTO's highlighting of the sharing economy doesn't make a jot of difference to the day-to-day running of the industry, mentioning it in a keynote speech at a major tourism event goes a long to validating it in front of those who otherwise appear seemingly hell-bent on ignoring it.
It turns out that the UNWTO is actually in the process of compiling a report into the sharing economy, but according to an official it has been delayed from its original end-of-2015 schedule.
NB: Sharing economy image via Shutterstock.