Tourists are to be given greater legal protection as consumers under new plans being advanced by the World Tourism Organisation.
A committee has been formed with the goal of establishing a standard set of minimum consumer protection standards for tourists will help make people feel safer and more confident in international travel
In its first meeting, the Committee for the Development of an International Code for the Protection of Tourists saw the active participation of 92 UNWTO Member States. Together, they adopted a concrete plan of action to restore travellers’ confidence through a common and harmonised framework. Within the next weeks, international organisations, the European Commission as well as private stakeholders will be called upon to join this initiative to achieve a fairer and more balanced share of responsibilities among all tourism stakeholders in the post COVID-19 world.
UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said, “Uncertainty and a lack of trust in travel are among the biggest challenges we face as we work to restart tourism. An International Code for the Protection of Tourists will be a landmark step towards addressing this. Establishing a standard set of minimum consumer protection standards for tourists will help make people feel safer and more confident in international travel. And it will also ensure that the responsibility of managing the disruptions caused by this pandemic is shared fairly across the whole of our sector.”
Ahead of this week’s meeting, the UNWTO published “Recommendations for the Assistance to International Tourists in Emergency Situations”, laying the ground for the International Code for the Protection of Tourists.
These recommendations are designed to ensure that responsibility for tourists in emergency situations is shared fairly across the whole of the tourism value chain, including:
- Preventing possible disruptions by drawing up contingency plans and coordination protocols and training tourism stakeholders to assist tourists in emergency situations
- Providing real-time information for tourists
- Addressing cross-border cooperation between governments and tourism service providers
- Fostering close collaboration between governments and travel and accommodation providers
- Addressing the effective repatriation of tourists.
It is anticipated that a progress report on the development of the International Code for the Protection of Tourists will be presented at the next UNWTO General Assembly (end of 2021 in Marrakech, Morocco) for approval by Member States.