World Code of Ethics for Tourism
A fundamental frame of reference for responsible and sustainable tourism, the World Code of Ethics for Tourism is an all-embracing set of principles designed to guide the main players in tourism development. Aimed at governments, tourism companies, communities and tourists alike, its aim is to help maximize the benefits of the sector, while minimizing its possible negative consequences for the environment, cultural heritage and societies around the world.
Approved in 1999 by the General Assembly of the World Tourism Organization, its recognition two years later by the United Nations explicitly encouraged UNWTO to promote the effective implementation of its provisions. Although the Code is not legally binding, it incorporates a voluntary enforcement mechanism through its recognition of the role of the World Committee on Tourism Ethics, to which the parties can refer any question concerning the application and interpretation of the document.
The ten principles of the Code comprehensively cover the economic, social, cultural and environmental components of travel and tourism:
Article 1 +
Contribution of tourism to mutual understanding and respect between men and societies
- The understanding and promotion of the common ethical values of humanity, in a spirit of tolerance and respect for the diversity of religious, philosophical and moral beliefs, are at the same time the foundation and consequence of responsible tourism. Tourism development agents and tourists themselves will pay attention to the social and cultural traditions and practices of all peoples, including those of national minorities and indigenous peoples, and will recognize their wealth.
- The tourist activities will be organized in harmony with the peculiarities and traditions of the receiving regions and countries, and with respect to their laws and customs.
- Both receiving communities and local professional agents will have to learn to know and respect the tourists who visit them, and to learn about their way of life, their tastes and their expectations. The education and training given to professionals will contribute to a hospitable reception of tourists.
- Public authorities have the mission of ensuring the protection of tourists and visitors and their property. In this task, they will pay special attention to the safety of foreign tourists, due to their particular vulnerability. To this end, they will facilitate the establishment of specific information, prevention, protection, insurance and assistance measures that correspond to their needs. Attacks, attacks, abductions or threats directed against tourists or workers in the tourism sector, as well as the intentional destruction of tourist facilities or cultural or natural heritage elements, in accordance with the respective national legislation, must be condemned and severely repressed.
- In their travels, tourists and visitors will avoid any criminal act or considered criminal by the laws of the country they visit, and any behavior that may be shocking or hurtful to the local population, or damage the surroundings of the place. They shall refrain from any type of trafficking in drugs, weapons, antiquities, protected species, and products and substances dangerous or prohibited by national regulations.
- Tourists and visitors have the responsibility to gather information, prior to their departure, on the characteristics of the country they are prepared to visit. They will also be aware of the health and safety risks inherent in any movement away from their normal environment and will behave in a way that minimizes those risks.
Article 2 +
Tourism, an instrument of personal and collective development
Tourism, which is an activity generally associated with rest, fun, sport and access to culture and nature, should be conceived and practiced as a privileged means of individual and collective development. If it is carried out with the necessary spirit, it is an irreplaceable factor of self-education, mutual tolerance and learning of the legitimate differences between peoples and cultures and their diversity.
- Tourism activities shall respect the equality of men and women. They will also aim to promote human rights, and in particular the specific rights of the most vulnerable population groups, especially children, the elderly and disabled, ethnic minorities and indigenous peoples.
- The exploitation of human beings, in any form, especially sexual, and particularly when it affects children, violates the fundamental objectives of tourism and constitutes a denial of its essence. Therefore, in accordance with international law, it must be fought unreservedly with the cooperation of all the States concerned and be rigorously punished in the national legislation of the countries visited and of the countries of the perpetrators, even when committed abroad.
- Travel for reasons of religion, health, education and cultural or linguistic exchange are particularly interesting forms of tourism, and deserve to be encouraged.
- The introduction of curricula for the exchange of tourism, its economic, social and cultural benefits, as well as its risks, will be encouraged.