World Committee on Tourism Ethics (WCTE)
Established in 2003, the World Committee on Tourism Ethics (WCTE) is an independent and impartial body under the aegis of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), a specialized Agency of the United Nations responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism. The WCTE is responsible for the promotion, and dissemination of the UNWTO Global Code of Ethics for Tourism, as well as the evaluation and monitoring of the implementation of the principles enshrined therein.
As a subsidiary organ of the UNWTO General Assembly, the Committee reports directly to the Assembly on regular basis. Members are elected in their personal capacities and not as officials of governments or representatives of their countries.
WCTE Statement and Messages
WCTE Tips & Recommendations
Acknowledging that the tourism sector has been secerely affected by the pandemic, this Recommendation aim at facilitating international travel, which plays a significant role in the recovery of tourism while maintaining an ethical and sustainable approach.
The Recommendation on COVID-19 Certificates for International Travel, guided by the Framework Convention on Tourism Ethics and the Global Code for Ethics , is a product of months of multidisciplinary consultations with various representatives from the tourism sector, academia, international organizations and experts in the field of ethics. The Conditions listed in the Recommendation promote the use of a unique document provided free of charge, and limited in its duration, for primarily international mobility. The Committee recommended issuing both digital and paper format certificates together with the provision of a maximum data protection and security. While international cooperation should ensure the equitable distribution of vaccines, the Committee recommended against the inclusion of said vaccines and related certificates in package tours or similar products.
Indigenous peoples are characterized by some of the richest, most unique and diverse cultural expressions of humankind which have developed over thousands of years across our planet and are spiritually linked to indigenous traditional lands. These expressions represent a clear pull factor for potential tourists who wish to experience indigenous natural and cultural heritage in physical, intellectual, and emotional terms.
The aim of these Recommendations is to encourage tourism enterprises to develop their operations in a responsible and sustainable manner, while enabling those indigenous communities that wish to open up to tourism to take full grasp of opportunities that come along, following a thorough consultation process. The Recommendations also target tourists that visit indigenous communities, and whose numbers are steadily increasing given the growth of tourism motivated by the interest to experience indigenous cultures and traditional lifestyles.
These recommendations, originally prepared by the Secretariat after several rounds of multi-stakeholder consultations with indigenous tourism associations, indigenous entrepreneurs and advocates, have been enhanced and validated by the Ethics Committee and adopted by the twenty-third session of the UNWTO General Assembly in 2019 by resolution A/RES/723(XXIII).
To facilitate the understanding of the principles of the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism by tourists, a more user-friendly text and format of the leaflet “The Responsible Tourist and Traveller” was prepared in 2005 by the World Committee on Tourism Ethics. In 2020 the World Committee on Tourism Ethics revised the 2017 version of the Tips for a Responsible Traveller to include updated recommendations relevant to ensuring safe and secure travel. Said revision, took place during the first semester on 2020 as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Throughout this last decade, user-generated ratings and reviews on digital platforms have become a central part in the information, selection and decision processes of visitors when choosing places to visit, to stay or to eat.
The World Committee on Tourism Ethics (WCTE) has elaborated the present Recommendations with a view to encourage the responsible use of ratings and reviews on digital platforms related to the tourism sector.
The Ethics Committee engaged in the production of the UNWTO Recommendations on Accessible Information in Tourism adopted by UNWTO General Assembly resolution A/RES/669(XXI) in September 2015. Recommendations aim to provide guidance to the tourism sector on the provision of accessible channels and formats to display and facilitate accurate and regularly updated tourist information within destinations. The Recommendations cover accessible print materials, websites, digital media, apps, info screens and interface terminals widely used within the tourism sector. The Recommendations were developed, with the support and collaboration of the ONCE Foundation and the European Network for Accessible Tourism (ENAT).
The UNWTO Recommendations on Accessible Tourism for All are meant to be used as a general, basic mainstreaming framework for ensuring that people with disabilities have access to the physical environment, the transportation system, information and communications channels, as well as to a wide range of public facilities and services. The Recommendations incorporate the most relevant aspects of the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities of 2006 and the principles of Universal Design. In the context of a trilateral agreement between UNWTO, ONCE and ENAT, the recommendations were adopted by UNWTO General Assembly Resolution A/RES/637(XX) of August 2013, updating the 2005 UNWTO Recommendations.