UNWTO mulls code for tourist protection

MADRID, 6 November 2020: Tourists will gain greater legal protection as consumers under new plans being advanced by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

UNWTO announced this week efforts to restore travel confidence through the adoption of an International Code for the Protection of Tourists due to be approved in 2021.

The initiative has the support of almost 100 member countries that have committed to offering clearer and more consistent emergency support globally.

In its first meeting, the Committee for the Development of an International Code for the Protection of Tourists 92 the UNWTO Member States adopted a concrete plan of action to restore tourists’ confidence.

Over the next few weeks, international organizations, the European Commission as well as private stakeholders will join this unprecedented initiative to achieve a more fair and balanced share of responsibilities among all tourism stakeholders in the post-Covid-19 world.

Helping tourists in trouble

UNWTO published the Recommendations for the Assistance to International Tourists in Emergency Situations, laying the ground rules for the International Code for the Protection of Tourists.

Establishing a standard set of minimum consumer protection standards for tourists will help make people feel safer and more confident in international travel.

Signatory states will agree to draw up contingency plans and coordination protocols and to train tourism stakeholders to assist tourists in emergency situations.

The code will also address cross-border cooperation between governments and tourism service providers.

It will foster close collaboration between governments and travel and accommodation providers.

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.”

It is anticipated a progress report on the development of the International Code for the Protection of Tourists will be presented at the next UNWTO General Assembly (late 2021 in Marrakech, Morocco) for approval by all member states.

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