World Committee on Tourism Ethics: it is critical to advance the transformation of the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism into an international convention
The 17th meeting of the World Committee on Tourism Ethics, held at the UNWTO Headquarters in Madrid, Spain on 26-27 April 2016 discussed the advances in the process of conversion of the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism into an international convention and reiterated the importance of transforming the Code into legally binding international law.
The process of transformation is led by a group of UNWTO Member States which is currently drafting the text of the convention to be presented to the 22nd UNWTO General Assembly to be held in China in 2017.
Stressing the relevance of adopting a convention on Tourism Ethics, Pascal Lamy, Chair of the Ethics Committee and former Director General of the World Trade Organization, said “I am satisfied with the progress of the negotiations on the draft text of the Convention and sincerely hope that it will become the first international treaty on ethics in tourism, underlining the importance of evolving toward a responsible sector for all”
“Transforming the UNWTO Global Code of Ethics into an international convention represents a major step forward in ensuring that tourism development is a force for good in our societies and UNWTO Members States are committed to this objective. I trust that this Convention will be an example of how the tourism sector can lead in promoting a more inclusive and fairer development model” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai.
Over the course of the two-day meeting, the Committee also debated how to increase the awareness of the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism and its core values such as accessibility for all, child protection and the obligations of tourism service providers in the field of safety and security standards in tourist accommodation and beach water sports.
The management of fraudulent online reviews and the existing mechanisms to prevent possible unfounded ratings was also discussed in a session which counted on the participation of Yelp’s Head of EU Public Policy, Kostas Rossoglou. The Committee will continue consultations on this topic with a view to develop guidelines and recommendations for the sector.
As the organ responsible for promoting and monitoring the implementation of the UNWTO Global Code of Ethics for Tourism, the Committee commended the growing number of companies and trade associations that have adhered to the Private Sector Commitment to the Code. By April 2016, a total of 452 signatories from 64 countries had committed to promote and implement the Code in their business operations.
Note to editors:
The World Committee on Tourism Ethics (WCTE) is the independent body responsible for overseeing the implementation of the UNWTO Global Code of Ethics for Tourism (GCET), a set of principles designed to guide sustainable tourism development. The 17th meeting of the Committee was the fifth meeting in the current composition and under the chairmanship of Pascal Lamy.
The World Committee on Tourism Ethics is a subsidiary organ of the UNWTO General Assembly, to which it reports directly. Members are elected in their personal capacities and not as officials of governments or representatives of their countries.
Committee Chairman: Pascal Lamy (Former Director General of the World Trade Organization); Members: Mr. I Gede Ardika (Former Minister of Tourism of Indonesia), Mr. Yoshiaki Hompo (Former Commissioner of Japan Tourism Agency), Ms. Fiona Jeffery (Former Chair of the World Travel Market), Mr. Khelil Lajmi (Former Minister of Tourism of Tunisia), Mr. Jean Marc Mignon (President, International Organisation for Social Tourism), Ms. Tanja Mihalic (Head of Institute of Tourism, University of Ljubljana), Mr. Ron Oswald (General Secretary, International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers´ Association), Mr. Eugenio Yunis (Advisor to the Board of Directors, Federation of Tourism Enterprises of Chile); Alternate members: Mr. Hiran Cooray (Chairman, Jetwing), Ms. Günnür Diker (Secretary-General, Association of Turkish Travel Agents), and Ms. Suzy Hatough (Director of Dar Al-Diafa for Tourism Human Resources Development Consultancy).