UNWTO approves Framework Convention on Tourism Ethics

United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has approved a historic document—the UNWTO Framework Convention on Tourism Ethics. The convention was approved at the 22nd UNWTO General Assembly, which transformed the Code of Ethics for Tourism into an international convention, the first in the life of the organisation.

The convention covers the responsibilities of all stakeholders in the development sustainable tourism, providing a framework that recommends an ethical and sustainable modus operandi, including the right to tourism, the freedom of movement for tourists and the rights of employees and professionals.

“In an interconnected world where the business volume of tourism equals or even surpasses that of oil exports, food products or automobiles, it is important to set out a legal framework to ensure that growth is dealt with responsibly and that it can be sustained over time,” said Pascal Lamy, the Chairman of the World Committee on Tourism Ethics (WCTE).

“Tourism is a power that must be harnessed for the benefit of all.” Appointed as Chairman of the WTCE in 2013, Pascal Lamy, together with his colleagues in the Committee, had been instrumental in the process of presenting the Convention on Tourism Ethics to the 22nd UNWTO General Assembly, according to UNWTO.

The conversion of the Code, which was adopted in 1999, into a proper Convention represents a significant step towards ensuring that tourism development is done with full respect for sustainable development, social issues, and local community development, improves understanding between cultures and addresses labour issues.

“This is a historical moment for UNWTO,” said Taleb Rifai, the Secretary-General. “The approval of the Convention is a strong legacy of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development that we celebrate this year. It is also a strong sign that countries are committed to making tourism a force for a better future for all. It reinforces UNWTO institutional outreach in the UN system,” he added.

World Committee on Tourism Ethics submitted a proposal to the UNWTO General Assembly in 2015, seeking to convert the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism, UNWTO’s main policy document, into an international convention in order to reinforce its effectiveness.