Governance of the tourism sector came under the spotlight during the pandemic. The unprecedented disruption of the sector required commitments and leadership to rethink how to rebuild back better to address the deficiencies in the sector. UNWTO recognizes the importance of rethinking tourism governance at every level, while at the same time putting systems in place to restore trust in travel and so get the world moving again.
The closure of borders and the cancellation of flights with little or no notice left hundreds of thousands of tourists stranded abroad. Many tourists were left without assistance. The lack of clarity regarding obligations, duties, and responsibilities to provide care and assistance in emergency situations created great uncertainty around tourists’ rights, greatly harming confidence in international travel.
As a result, UNWTO developed the International Code for the Protection of Tourists (ICPT). This landmark Code provides a set of minimum international standards for the protection of tourists in emergency situations and consumer rights of tourists. Addressed to governments, public and private stakeholders, and tourists themselves, the ICPT aims at restoring consumers’ confidence and making tourists feel safer and better protected. As of September 2022, four countries have adopted the Code into their tourism policies, namely Ecuador, Guinea Bissau, Moldova and Paraguay.
The ICPT is a voluntary instrument and features a set of mechanisms for adherence to ICPT 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.
The UNWTO at its 23rd Session of the General Assembly (9-13 September 2019, Saint Petersburg, Russia), adopted the proposal to convert the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism, UNWTO’s main policy document, into an international convention in order to reinforce its effectiveness.
All Member States of the UNWTO and of the United Nations are now encouraged to ratify the Framework Convention, if they so wish and in accordance with their constitutional provisions and practice, therewith committing themselves to formulating policies consistent with the Ethical Principles in Tourism spelled out in the Convention. As of September 2022, four countries (Albania, Lebanon, Nigeria and Seychelles) have taken steps to adopt the Convention into their own tourism policies, while several others are on way to doing so.
The Global Code of Ethics for Tourism provides a set of principles for tourism development towards a more ethical approach. The Code calls on governments, the tourism sector, communities and tourists alike, to help maximize the sector’s benefits while minimizing its potentially negative impact on the environment, cultural heritage and societies across the globe.
As part of ongoing shift towards the greater use of digital tools and visual storytelling to make clear the relevance and importance of tourism to economies, societies, and planet, UNWTO announced a partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, among other leading technology and communications platforms.
The first product of this forward-looking partnership is the “Tourism Recovery Playbook”, designed to help destinations and business harness the power of digital and visual storytelling to reach new audiences and return to growth, launched on 9 November 2021. On the back of this, Instagram again supported UNWTO as an active participant in the first edition of the Global Youth Tourism Summit, and then on the sidelines of the 77th session of the UN General Assembly, showcasing the importance of storytelling in the transformation of tourism. Showcased here, the “See the World Through My Eyes” project is designed to train young people and creators around the world to become tourism ambassadors for their hometowns, and countries using Instagram’s smart glasses technology, Ray-Ban Stories.
“With the innovative tools and the unrivalled reach of Instagram, we can bring UNWTO’s vision for tourism as a force for good to new audiences all around the world.”UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili