Adherence to the International Code for the Protection of Tourists and Subsequent Steps

Adherence to the International Code for the Protection of Tourists and Subsequent Steps

The International Code for the Protection of Tourists (ICPT) features a set of mechanisms for adherence to Code by States, for monitoring and reporting on its application within their countries, as well as for the evaluation and interpretation of its principles and recommendations.

Adherance to the ICPT:

The ICPT is a voluntary instrument of a non-legally binding nature, States are encouraged to formally adhere to the ICPT and to express their willingness to apply its principles and recommendations within their country through a formal notification to the Secretary-General of the UNWTO. 

Adherence to the ICPT is open to all Member States of both the UNWTO and the United Nations. They may adhere to the ICPT fully or partially. In case of partial adherence, States will clearly indicate the relevant chapters/parts/sections of ICPT which they wish to apply within their country.

Interested Member States may consult the flowchart for the Adherence to the ICPT summarizing the steps by which States may adhere to the ICPT fully or partially and subsequently, submit the ICPT, within the period of one year after the notification of adherence, to the attention of the competent national authorities for consideration.

Overall, the necessary steps for adhering to the ICPT can be summarized as follows:

  1. Voluntary adherence to the ICPT

Adherence to the ICPT is completely voluntary, it will not create legally binding obligations for States.  Nevertheless, by adhering to the ICPT fully or partially, States, without being obliged to do so,will undertake to:

  1. Submit the ICPT to the attention of the relevant national authorities;
  2. Make their best efforts to integrate its principles and recommendations into their relevant policies, legislation and regulations;
  3. Designate one or more national authorities responsible for coordination and application of the ICPT;
  4. Assess the costs and benefits of the application of the recommendations of the ICPT;
  5. Consult with relevant tourism stakeholders; and
  6. Report to the Secretary-General in order to gather and compile relevant information on the practice, experience and potential difficulties of countries in implementing the recommendations of the Code with a view to developing and sharing knowledge, best practices and lessons learnt with all Member States.
  1. Notification of adherence

States willing to adhere to the ICPT fully or partially are required inform the Secretary-General of the UNWTO (icpt@unwto.org)  through a formal notification of adherence.

While there are no specific requirements as to the form of the notification, the notification of adherence shall meet the following minimum requirements:

  1. Be a notification in writing, whether in paper or electronic form;
  2. Proceed from a person with the authority to engage the State; and
  3. Clearly convey the Government’s intention to adhere to the ICPT fully or partially and to submit its principles and recommendations to its competent authorities for consideration within a period of one year from the notification of adherence.

The notification of adherence will be accepted only if written in any of the working languages of the UNWTO (i.e., English, French and Spanish) or if an appropriate translation is attached.

Model notifications are available to facilitate full or partial adherence to the ICPT by States. States are highly encouraged to use the following ‘Model Notifications’ to express their intention to adhere to the ICPT fully or partially:

Model Notification Adherance to the ICPT

Full Adherence    Partial Adherance  

Notifications of Adherence should be sent to the following contact: ICPT Secretariat

  1. Submission of the ICPT to the competent authorities

After notifying their intention to adhere to the ICPT, States are required to submit the ICPT to the attention of the competent authorities for the application of its recommendations and principles within their country.

The main aim of submission to the competent authorities is to promote measures at the national level for the application of the principles and recommendations of the ICPT or other appropriate action.

Said submission will not create legally binding obligations for States. States have complete freedom as to the nature of the proposals to be made when submitting the ICPT to the competent authorities and on the effect that they consider it appropriate to give to the ICPT within their country.

Relevant information: Adherence to the ICPT by country  

Reporting System:

States adhering to the ICPT undertake to report to the Secretary General of UNWTO on the status of application of the ICPT and, subsequently, on the measures taken to give effect to the ICPT within their country.

To this end, the ICPT features a set of reporting mechanisms aimed at gathering and compiling relevant information on the practice, experience and potential difficulties encountered by countries in implementing the recommendations of the ICPT with a view to developing and sharing knowledge, best practices and lessons learnt.

The reporting procedure foreseen in the ICPT can be summarized as follows:

  1. Initial Reports

States adhering to the ICPT will firstly report to the Secretary General of UNWTO, one year after the notification of adherence, on the status of application of the ICPT within their country.

‘Initial Reports’ will include the status of integration of the recommendations of the ICPT in the national law and regulatory practice of their country in regard to the matters dealt with in the ICPT, showing the extent to which effect has been given or is proposed to be given, to the recommendations of the ICPT.

  1. Periodic Reports

Subsequently, States adhering to the ICPT will report on the measures they have taken to give effect to specific chapters or sections of the ICPT, or on any other alternative approaches they have taken, within their countries.

  1. General Reports

On the basis of the periodic reports submitted by States adhering fully or partially to the ICPT, relevant information on the practice, experience and potential difficulties encountered by countries in implementing the recommendations of the ICPT will be compiled by technical Committee established to assist the Secretary-General in monitoring the application of the Code in a ‘General Report’ on the adherence and application of the ICPT.

The technical Committee will adopt, in an appropriate timeframe, the ‘General Report’ on the adherence and application the ICPT that will be transmitted by the Secretary-General of the UNWTO to the General Assembly.

Additionally, the technical Committee will perform, inter alia, the following functions:

  1. Considering and recommending potential amendments to the ICPT for approval by the General Assembly;
  2. Adopting good practices and recommendations for the application of the ICPT and taking any measures it may consider necessary to further the objectives of the ICPT; and
  3. Considering difficulties and issues arising from the application and interpretation of the ICPT, in consultation with the consultative Group of Experts.