World Committee on Tourism Ethics discusses the impact of web reviews

PR No.: 15092

The accuracy and reliability of online consumer reviews was the main focus of the 16th meeting of the World Committee on Tourism Ethics. The Committee also discussed the issue of child protection in tourism and all inclusive holidays (Paris, France, 16-17 November 2015).

The 16th meeting of the Committee, chaired by Pascal Lamy, counted with the presence of Matthias Fekl, French Minister of State for Foreign Trade, the Promotion of Tourism and French Nationals Abroad, who said “We are very pleased to host the 16th meeting of the World Committee on Tourism Ethics here in Paris, and grateful that all Members could travel and continue with the meeting despite the sad circumstances”.

“UNWTO and the Committee want to send a message of solidarity to France after the dramatic attacks of Friday. Fear and terror will not influence our activities but make us more determined in our efforts to promote the principles of the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism and its values of peace, human rights respect, mutual understanding and respect of diversity”, said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai, addressing the meeting.

Over the course of two days meeting, the Committee reviewed its priority areas of work, including child protection, accessibility, fair models of all inclusive holidays, and the availability of reliable and objective information to tourists. The discussion was focused on the ethical impact of the current market changes including the new business models and online platforms as well as the need for increased advocacy of the Code and its core messages, with a special focus on child protection.

Talking about the impact of consumers’ reviews on tourism, Pascal Lamy, WCTE Chair and former Director General of the World Trade Organization said “Trust is the key element in web reviews of most internet rating systems; however it is important that there are verification mechanisms in place to ensure that consumers and business are not deceived”.

Issues of safety and security were also discussed, although this is not a topic directly addressed by the Committee, it expressed its concerns about the impact of the recent dramatic events on tourism, namely in terms of jobs and social stability.

On the occasion, Club Med, a pioneer in all inclusive family holidays, and Jetwing Hotels, a Sri Lankan hotel leading company, signed the Private Sector Commitment to the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism, joining more than 440 companies and associations around the world already committed to promoting the ethical standards embedded in the Code.

The 17th meeting of the Committee will take place in April 2016.

Note to editors:

The World Committee on Tourism Ethics (WCTE) is the independent body responsible for overseeing the implementation of the UNWTO Global Code of Ethics for Tourism (GCET), a set of principles designed to guide sustainable tourism development. The Committee is a subsidiary organ of the UNWTO General Assembly, to which it reports directly. Members are elected in their personal capacities and not as officials of governments or representatives of their countries.

Committee Chairman: Pascal Lamy (Former Director General of the World Trade Organization); Members: Mr. I Gede Ardika (Former Minister of Tourism of Indonesia), Mr. Yoshiaki Hompo (Former Commissioner of Japan Tourism Agency), Ms. Fiona Jeffery (Former Chair of the World Travel Market), Mr. Khelil Lajmi (Former Minister of Tourism of Tunisia), Mr. Jean Marc Mignon (President, International Organisation for Social Tourism), Ms. Tanja Mihalic (Head of Institute of Tourism, University of Ljubljana), Mr. Ron Oswald (General Secretary, International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers´ Association), Mr. Eugenio Yunis (Executive Vice President, Federation of Tourism Enterprises of Chile); alternate members: Mr. Hiran Cooray (Chairman, Jetwing), Ms. Günnür Diker (Secretary-General, Association of Turkish Travel Agents), and Ms. Suzy Hatough (Director of Dar Al-Diafa for Tourism Human Resources Development Consultancy).

Useful links:

UNWTO Ethics and Social Responsibility Programme

World Committee on Tourism Ethics

UNWTO Global Code of Ethics for Tourism

UNWTO Private Sector Commitment to the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism


UNWTO Media Officer Rut Gomez Sobrino
Tel: (+34) 91 567 81 60

UNWTO Communications & Publications Programme
Tel: (+34) 91 567 8100 / Fax: +34 91 567 8218 

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