The Ethics & Social Responsibility Programme of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), a specialised agency of the United Nations, is tasked with the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism.
Guided by the provisions of the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism, the programme focuses on issues of child protection, accessible tourism for all, corporate social responsibility, gender equality and empowerment, and the promotion of human rights and non-discrimination.
The Programme further coordinates the activities of both the World Committee on Tourism Ethics and the World Tourism Network on Child Protection.
Areas of work
• GLOBAL CODE OF ETHICS FOR TOURISM
o Promotes and disseminates the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism and monitors its implementation
o Coordinates the activities of the World Committee on Tourism Ethics
• CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
o Promotes the Private Sector Commitment to the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism
• ACCESSIBLE TOURISM FOR ALL
o Advocates for the accessibility of tourism facilities and services, to facilitate the travel of all persons, including those with disabilities
• PROTECTION OF CHILDREN IN TOURISM
o Works to prevent all forms of exploitation of minors in tourism (sexual exploitation, child labour, trafficking in children, etc.)
o Coordinates the activities of the World Tourism Network on Child Protection
• GENDER AND TOURISM
o Promotes gender equality and the empowerment of women in tourism
As a fundamental frame of reference for responsible and sustainable tourism, the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism (GCET) is a comprehensive set of principles designed to guide key-players in tourism development. Addressed to governments, the travel industry, communities and tourists alike, it aims to help maximise the sector’s benefits while minimising its potentially negative impact on the environment, cultural heritage and societies across the globe.
Adopted in 1999 by the General Assembly of the World Tourism Organization, its acknowledgement by the United Nations two years later expressly encouraged UNWTO to promote the effective follow-up of its provisions. Although not legally binding, the Code features a voluntary implementation mechanism through its recognition of the role of the World Committee on Tourism Ethics (WCTE), to which stakeholders may refer matters concerning the application and interpretation of the document.
The Code’s 10 principles amply cover the economic, social, cultural and environmental components of travel and tourism:
Article 1: Tourism’s contribution to mutual understanding and respect between peoples and societies
Article 2: Tourism as a vehicle for individual and collective fulfilment
Article 3: Tourism, a factor of sustainable development
Article 4: Tourism, a user of the cultural heritage of mankind and contributor to its enhancement
Article 5: Tourism, a beneficial activity for host countries and communities
Article 6: Obligations of stakeholders in tourism development
Article 7: Right to tourism
Article 8: Liberty of tourist movements
Article 9: Rights of the workers and entrepreneurs in the tourism industry
Article 10: Implementation of the principles of the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism
Accessibility to all
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 15% of the world’s population (1 billion people) is estimated to live with some form of disability. UNWTO is convinced that accessibility for all to tourist facilities, products, and services should be a central part of any responsible and sustainable tourist policy.
In this spirit of mainstreaming disability issues, the Organization’s General Assembly have adopted several resolutions, declarations and recommendations on accessibility.