UNWTO Global Code of Ethics for Tourism

Madrid, Spain, 15 September 2017

The member States of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) approved today a historical document - the UNWTO Framework Convention on Tourism Ethics. The Convention, approved at the 22nd UNWTO General Assembly transforms the Code of Ethics for Tourism into an international convention, the first in the life of the Organization.

The Convention covers the responsibilities of all stakeholders in the development sustainable tourism, providing a framework that recommends an ethical and sustainable modus operandi, including the right to tourism, the freedom of movement for tourists and the rights of employees and professionals. 

“In an interconnected world where the business volume of tourism equals or even surpasses that of oil exports, ‎food products or automobiles, it is important to set out a legal framework to ensure that growth is dealt with responsibly and that it can be sustained over time. Tourism is a power that must be harnessed for the benefit of all,” said the Chairman of the World Committee on Tourism Ethics (WCTE), Pascal Lamy.

Appointed as Chairman of the WTCE in 2013, Pascal Lamy, together with his colleagues in the Committee, has been instrumental in the process of presenting the Convention on Tourism Ethics to the 22nd UNWTO General Assembly.

The conversion of the Code, which was adopted in 1999, into a proper Convention represents a significant step towards ensuring that tourism development is done with full respect for sustainable development, social issues, local community development, improves understanding between cultures and addresses labour issues.

“This is a historical moment for UNWTO, said the Secretary-General”, Taleb Rifai. “The approval of the Convention is a strong legacy of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development that we celebrate this year. It is also a strong sign that countries are committed to making tourism a force for a better future for all. It reinforces UNWTO institutional outreach in the UN system,” he added.

Additional information:

About the Draft Convention

Global Code of Ethics in the Tourism sector

GSTC Conference in Aysen, Chile

September 14, 2017 – The Global Sustainable Tourism Conference 2017 in Aysén, Chile (GSTC2017Aysen), brought together 250 delegates from 29 countries, as well as thousands of viewers joining the live broadcast of the conference.

The Conference focused on “Sustainable Destinations”, and the application of the GSTC Destination Criteria, with a focused panel of representatives from destinations that apply the GSTC Destination Criteria: Rosa Harris, Director of Tourism - Cayman Islands; Beatriz Barreal, Founder & General Manager - Sustainable Riviera Maya (Mexico); Dawson Ramsden, Ecotourism Marketing Executive - Botswana Tourism Organisation;  Eduardo Gomez, Director Regional - Sernatur Los Lagos (Chile); and Tamara Ullrich, Board Member - ZOIT Cchellenko (Chile). Other topics included tourism and climate change (adaptation and mitigation strategies); marketing sustainable tourism; sustainable visitor management; indigenous tourism; sustainable food in the tourism industry; and more. Simultaneous translation was provided in English and Spanish.

Beaverton, OR, United States - 3 May 2017: One tourist at a time can help save the critically endangered hawksbill sea turtle from extinction. A report on a recently concluded three-month survey of nine countries in Latin America and the Caribbean identified more than 10,000 turtleshell items for sale at more than 200 souvenir shops and vendors, representing more than 30 percent of places visited. Though the international trade of hawksbill turtleshell has declined over the past few decades, this report shows that strong demand for these products continues in the region, which has a significant impact on efforts to recover the species.

New Publication: European Birds of Conservation Concern

Brussels, Belgium - 20 May 2017: Today BirdLife International releases the publication "European birds of conservation concern: populations, trends and national responsibilities". This publication summarises the conservation status of 541 wild bird species in 50 European countries and territories (based on the 2016 IUCN Global Red List and taxonomic update) and aims to help national governments to easily identify the species that are in urgent need of attention and protection.   

Birds know no borders - this expression is especially relevant in Europe where most of the continent’s circa 540 regularly occurring wild bird species are found in more than one European country, with each holding an average of circa 200 breeding species. It is therefore not always obvious which countries have or should take most responsibility for conserving, protecting or restoring certain species.

Border wall threatens endangered wildlife

Tucson, Arizona - 17 May 2017: President Trump’s border wall threatens 93 endangered and threatened species, including jaguars, ocelots, Mexican grey wolves and cactus ferruginous pygmy owls, according to a new study by the Center for Biological Diversity. The study also found that 25 threatened or endangered species have designated “critical habitat” on the border, including more than 2 million acres within 50 miles of the border.

2nd Global Report on Gastronomy Tourism

Madrid, Spain - 17 May 2017: A major component of history, tradition and identity, gastronomy has also become a major motivation to visit a destination. According to the 2nd UNWTO Report on Gastronomy Tourism, this tourism segment “offers enormous potential in stimulating local, regional and national economies and enhancing sustainability and inclusion”. The Report was presented in the recent 3rd UNWTO World Forum on Gastronomy Tourism, held in San Sebastian, Spain in cooperation with the Basque Culinary Center.


Bonn - May 17, 2017: On the first Saturday in May, the European Association for Renewable Energy (EUROSOLAR) Delegates’ Assembly met in the EUROSOLAR head office in Bonn and passed their determined resolution on the future of energy. More than 30 delegates from ten countries got together to discuss the obstacles and opportunities of the fast and full renewable energy transition.

The breakthrough of renewable energy across the globe is accelerating, yielding employment, prosperity and justice, industrial innovation and political stability. The 2017 EUROSOLAR European Delegates Assembly calls for a rapid renewable energy transit, facing the major threats that accompany the out-dated energy market across the world.

UNWTO Report on LGBT Tourism

Madrid, Spain, 5 May 2017:  Following the success of the first edition, published in 2012, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA), a UNWTO Affiliate Member, released today the second edition of the UNWTO Global Report on LGBT Tourism.

The report offers an extensive analysis of the LGBT traveller’s profile, providing useful guidance for tourism stakeholders, and destinations in particular, interested in attracting this segment. By means of introduction, the publication includes an overview of the highlights and recent global trends of LGBT tourism, along with a review of the current state of LGBT rights around the world.

Geneva, 27 April 2017: At the 17th Global Summit World Travel and Tourism Council, CITES Secretary-General John Scanlon called upon global leaders of the tourism and travel sector to join the fight against illegal wildlife trade in this special year the UN International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.

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