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Published on : Thursday, November 26, 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.