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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

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