Ethics & Social Responsibility Programme

29th Meeting of the World Tourism Network on Child Protection

Location

Berlin, BE 14055
Germany
52° 30' 5.2668" N, 13° 16' 8.292" E
Approve event: 
No
7 March 2014
Location: 
52° 30' 5.2668" N, 13° 16' 8.292" E

The World Tourism Network on Child Protection convened for its 29th meeting on the 7th of March 2014 in the context of the ITB Berlin International Tourism Fair. With a view towards exchanging information, experiences and best practices on the protection of children in tourism, the Network operates as a global platform of the sector’s key-players, drawing together governments, the tourism industry, international organisations, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and media associations.

The central focus of the Network's 29th meeting was a special session on “Media Partnership in the Protection of Children in Travel and Tourism. The meeting further featured a reporting session, affording representatives of national tourism authorities, the tourism industry, NGOs and specialised media outlets an opportunity to report on new projects concerning child protection in tourism.


Report

29th Meeting of the
World Tourism Network on Child Protection

(formerly the Task Force for the Protection of Children in Tourism)
(ITB, Berlin, Germany, 7 March 2014)

 

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  1. The World Tourism Network on Child Protection held its 29th Meeting in Berlin on 7 March 2014, under the theme Media Partnership in the Protection of Children in Travel and Tourism. Attended by around 70 delegates, the event featured a Special Session by a group of panellists from media sector which was followed by a debate and thereafter a Reporting Session wherein representatives of governments, international organisations, the tourism industry, and NGOs gave a first-hand account of their activities in the field of Child Protection in travel and tourism.

INTRODUCTORY REMARKS

  1. Mr Taleb Rifai, Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), welcomed the guests and expressed his delight at seeing some new faces at this year’s conference that will further rejuvenate this network. He shared that UNWTO had compiled a booklet of good practices in tourism with excerpts from a collection of more than 100 interventions of this platform on child protection in a span of past 15 years of its consecutive meetings. He noted that 2 years back, we achieved the milestone of 1 billion tourists crossing international borders annually. As far as domestic travel is concerned, it stands at some 6 billion tourists per year.  He underlined that these 1 billion international tourists may bring a billion opportunities and a billion disasters alike. And by 2030 we’re going to witness a 3.4% rise in this number globally. Therefore, it’s implicit that we implement the UN Charter and the UNWTO Global Code of Ethics for Tourism in their true spirit with a greater synergy with the World Committee on Tourism Ethics. He commended the huge success of the anti-trafficking campaign ‘Your Actions Count’ that was launched under the aegis of the UNWTO, UNODC and UNESCO. Media as a tool, he said, can perhaps achieve in one year what we alone would require 10 years. TV programmes such as the Freedom Project have proved to be very efficient in changing the way people think. We must establish a special partnership with our media friends because the more we are heard by the media, the better our case becomes. After Mr Taleb Rifai, Mr John Bell set the scene.

  1. Mr John Bell, a Travel Journalist and Writer, stressed upon the enormity of the challenge related to child protection. Using the analogy of a mammoth that one may be asked to eat up, he confessed that so much is the vastness of the problem that even an eternally optimist person like him finds himself in deep pessimism after learning that even the church is no longer immune to it. Substantiating his claim, he elaborated that in 2011, some 250,000 cases of criminal child abuses were registered in Brazil. Likewise, as ECPAT quotes, 2 million child abuses were registered worldwide as per ILO records. That makes it equivalent to 24 full capacity football stadia filled with children. He blamed the lack of collective effort and coordination among different parties for such an appalling trend of child abuse. Sometimes, the journalists have to annoy other stakeholders by reporting such abuses in the media. He defended his contribution as a journalist by affirming that journalists are the essential vehicles of change who ‘talk their way out of the burning hotels and crashing planes’ without any ulterior motives for cheap publicity. He also cautioned that child abuse is not confined to the areas of tourism; rather it transcends all boundaries in today’s age of technological advancement and webcams. Fortunately the NGOs and the journalists have a moral courage quotient that enables them to keep going in their fight against child abuse despite poor salaries. Hopefully, this courage quotient will keep him ‘motivated to at least have a few bites at the mammoth’s ear, if not to swallow the whole of it’, he concluded.

SPECIAL SESSION

Media Partnership in the
Protection of Children in Travel and Tourism

  1. Prof Mike Jempson, Senior Lecturer of Journalism at University of West England and Director of MediaWise, lamented the lack of training facilities in child abuse, conflict of interest within the professionals of tourism sector, sprawling number of tourism websites and male chauvinism among the principle challenges facing the fight against child exploitation in tourism industry. He illustrated that in some male-dominated societies such as in some parts of India, there are websites that openly attract tourists for sexual tourism destinations such as Amsterdam, Thailand, Costa Rica, Kenya and Japan. Such websites cut all journalists out of the picture thereby making the children more prone to sex abuse. No wonder then that 50% of his students prefer pursuing Travel Journalism as a profession with such a sprawling number of tourism related websites and increasing number of tourists every year. To make the problem worse, sometimes there’s a conflict of interest within the professionals. Once he had to face local journalists’ demonstration while imparting training in Prevention of Sexual Exploitation of Children in Subic Bay area of Philippines. The journalists in question were earning their bread by publishing stories on tourism agencies and politicians responsible for issuing licences to bars from where tourists would pick the girls. He expressed dissatisfaction with the fact that it’s usually the women who are sent to participate in training programmes on child abuse, whereas the men are usually assigned the task of covering matters identified with manhood such as political or sport events.

  1. Ms Sandy Dhuyvetter, Executive Producer and Host of TravelTalkRADIO and BusinessTravelRADIO (USA), talked about the challenges faced by her while organizing trainings for airport staff, volunteers and government officials in recognizing and reporting cases of child trafficking at airports, bus stops and train stations etc. With a reach in 185 countries, she affirmed that her Radio programmes engage experts from NGOs such as ECPAT, DHS and Polaris in order to spread awareness about human trafficking in tourism sector. She raised eyebrows at the extra attention the world media recently showered upon a diplomat who was charged for human trafficking and forced labour of her domestic worker thereby simply ignoring the plight of the affected servant. As a Board Member of Airline Ambassadors International, she asserted that she has imparted human trafficking trainings to more than 100 flight attendants in around 20 airports. She then gave the floor to other speakers.

  1. Mr Jürgen Steinmetz, Publisher and President at eTurboNews (USA), expressed optimism that an ethical media can surely be profitable. The key here lies in co-operating with the tourism boards. This partnership could be of mutual interest since the media also serves as an advertising partner of the tourism industry. Although some protectionist government officials in various tourism ministries would hardly recognise that there’re trafficking related discrepancies in their states, they would love to look into it if we somehow convinced them about the same. When the tourism industry and governments appear insensitive, the key lies in seeking their co-operation and convincing them for an active discussion without jeopardising their business interests. He admitted that in this sense there is a love-hate relationship between the media and tourism stakeholders, and UNWTO can indeed play a big role here. He claimed that in the long run it’ll be good for the businesses as well, if they weed out the breeding grounds of child exploitation in co-operation with the media sector’s activism in exposing such incidents.

  1. Ms Nele Obermüller, a Freelance Journalist and Writer, pointed out that one of the biggest challenges of a travel journalist is to face the question, “Why is it being reported now?” The stakeholders in tourism industry take the negative news reports as a challenge and direct attack on their integrity. Therefore, the need of the hour is to establish a trustworthy relation between the media and tourism stakeholders.

DEBATE

The Moderator, Mr Marcelo Risi, Senior Media Officer at UNWTO, raised the question as to how far the media should partner with the Tourism sector. Replying to this question, Mr John Bell came out in favour of a campaigning role of the media rather than fully partnering with the travel industry. During the debate, it emerged that the media needs to limit itself to the role of an annoying, albeit accountable, partner.

Prof Mike Jempson came up with his 3-pronged strategy.

  • The journalists must maintain their integrity and independence. Once they become agents of tourism agencies, they lose their identity as a journalist. More and more young journalists are venturing into the travel journalism profession. It’s high time we incorporated investigative journalism into the field of travel journalism.

  • The reputed and prestigious tourism organisations should unite hands and come up with instituting a system of bursaries. It could hire budding journalists to undergo internships and report cases of child abuse. It’ll work as deterrence toward eliminating exploitation in tourism industry.

  • There should be an award dedicated for travel journalists who take on the malpractices in tourism, particularly those adding to human suffering and exploitation.

Thereafter, the panel entered into another round of discussion on whether or not a Socially Responsible Travel Award be instituted for travel journalists. To this, the majority of the panellists were in favour of except Mr Jürgen Steinmetz who said such an award is not a good idea as it’ll lead to a competitive race among journalists that could adversely affect ties with our stakeholders in tourism. He preferred a system of checks and balances in which the media knows its limits in merely identifying such malpractices so as to awaken or caution the tourism industry to take necessary steps. He reiterated that the media should play a balancing role since there’s no point in losing all our friends. Just as it’s important to reach more readers, it’s equally important to get revenues as long as it doesn’t compromise with the fundamental right against exploitation. A downtown hotel haunted by pimps in Moldova or Latvia doesn’t call for breaking news coverage by the mainstream media. Such events should be discouraged and dealt with firmly at your personal level as a responsible and aware citizen.

QUESTION ROUND

Mr Marcelo Risi thanked the speakers and opened the floor to questions from the audience.

Mr Stephen Farrant, Director of International Tourism Partnership, wondered what type of news stories should have preference in news media in order to get ourselves into our strides: the good one or the bad one. Is it the isolated success story or the underlying negative story that should attract more attention?

Ms Sandy Dhuyvetter replied that it could be quite a nightmare to market your idea with the private companies concerning the tourism sector. She illustrated that the airports she worked with were wary of a partnership due to concerns that they might be sued if somebody saw something objectionable during her training programme on sensitising the airport staff on child abuse. She finally had had to engage market leaders such as Delta and United who braved to come forward to share the pedestal.

Ms Nele Obermüller said that from 2003 to 2006, there’s been a 20% rise in Child Trafficking as per a UNODC report. It suggests that child abuse is far from over in the near future and requires more attention. Commending the CNN’s Freedom Project that aims at ending modern-day slavery, she claimed that journalists, by virtue of their job, are quite qualified at seeing the underlying patterns of identical news stories based on a whole range of topics such as exploitation, poverty, sex workers etc. And this efficiency enables them to use their discretion on judging which news to publish and which not. She recalled the Guardian’s good coverage of underpaid tea workers in India.

When the Moderator rephrased the same question and asked as to what should be the determining criteria on whether to publish a story on child abuse, Mr John Bell contended that good news don’t really make it to the news pages unless they come as an afterthought. For example, no one published that Sun & Sand, a Kenyan hotel, was looking after 800 kids. Then he also underlined the reticent behaviour of Kenyan authorities in the face of prostitution rackets being run there.

Mr Jürgen Steinmetz added that any development that’s worthy of emulating or is potentially replicable in other places deserves publication in the news media. Likewise, rescue operations, arrests, executive order on removal of pornographic TV channels from hotel premises or any matter involving cooperation between the Police and Hotel industry shall attract media attention. He recalled that when the authorities in Belfast categorised its hotels into smoking and non-smoking ones, it ignited huge media attention and thereafter even the hotel industry in Tel Aviv followed suit.

Then the Moderator asked everyone about their take on how UNWTO as a neutral inter-governmental body could contribute more in the field of child protection.

Mr Marcus Bauer, Travel Journalist at Respontour Media Network, tried to urge UNWTO to be more bold and avoid being entirely neutral. To this, Mr John Bell affirmed that UNWTO is not the Security Council and we cannot expect it to be the world’s policeman. Although all the countries equally vouch for child protection, UNWTO shouldn’t be expected to put behind bars all those who are found guilty of sexual exploitation of children. At this point the delegation from the Government of Georgia congratulated and thanked UNWTO for its inspiring efforts toward child protection across the world. Ms Salome Tripolski, the Head of Development and Planning at Georgian National Tourism Authority, shared that her government has come up with a helpline number where all such cases of child abuse could be reported in order to ensure a timely action.

Mr Theo Noten, Programme Manager at ECPAT Netherlands, wanted to know how UNWTO could tackle the issue of child exploitation in Kenya. Addressing this question, Mr John Bell continued that since we no more live in the age of stringers, we should rely on the local press in Kenya which is doing a fantastic job. He further elaborated that the journalists these days are under immense workload so much so that even the BBC counts with only 94 foreign correspondents for its news published in 27 languages. Maybe we should be having newspaper owners here instead of their representatives, he deplored.

Ms Sandy Dhuyvetter pointed out that internet has emerged as a great neutraliser. So even a naïve journalist can publish a good news story online and within a moment it can go viral. Mr Mike Jempson added that the social media can indeed play a big role here. UNWTO could also publish such stories on Twitter and keep in touch with all the signatories of its flagship Code of Ethics for Tourism for necessary follow-up on a regular basis. He lamented that the mainstream media has a dearth of outstanding and ethical journalists as most of them are mainly trained in handling ‘machines’ such as the camera and other related technology used in media houses.

Ms Astrid Winkler, Managing Director at ECPAT Austria, strongly backed the question raised earlier by her colleague Mr Theo Noten. She implored UNWTO to take effective measures that really make a difference. She argued that it could do so by participating directly with governments and Public Relations or Marketing Managers of Tourism Boards. UNWTO should convince various governments to at least put huge posters and signboards on the airports’ International Arrivals section reading “Say no to Child Abuse”, because it’s not dangerous for businesses or destination countries. Such a proactive future engagement between UNWTO and governments would be a welcome step toward child protection. She reminded that the first international conference on sexual exploitation of children was held as late as 1996 in Stockholm. Therefore, a lot needs to be done for spreading awareness given that some governments are still hesitant in coming forward openly in denouncing the menace of child prostitution. She appreciated some steps taken in this direction by a few ASEAN countries.

Mr Márcio Favilla, Executive Director at UNWTO, commended the crucial points raised by Ms Astrid Winkler. He recalled that before joining UNWTO, he was the Deputy Minister of Tourism in his home country, Brazil where he focused on the issues of Child Labour and Sexual Exploitation of children and teenagers. Ultimately, in cooperation with media, some 924 areas were identified across Brazil where this problem was rampant. He said that compared to international tourism, such exploitation is more prevalent in domestic tourism sector. Thereafter, new legislation was passed to protect children from exploitation, yet a lot needs to be done. He stressed that rather than pointing fingers at the private sector, we should seek its partnership. Isolating the private sector will further aggravate the problem since it is mainly profit-driven and hardly realises the importance of getting more involved or aware on this topic. He bewailed that a section of private local media avoids publishing stories on child exploitation fearing that such reports will drive the tourists away.

Mr Yoshihisa Togo, Vice-Chairman of Japan Committee for UNICEF, underscored the vicious conduct of the Tourist Media. Drawing inspiration from the book “No Hiding Place: Child Sex Tourism and the Role of Extra-Territorial Legislation” by Mr Jeremy Seabrook, he called upon the world media to unite in the fight against sexual exploitation of children. He contended that UNICEF alone is not enough in the Herculean task of protecting children from exploitation. UNWTO’s Ethics and Social Dimensions of Tourism (ESDT) Programme, in this sense, is playing a complementary role to the UNICEF, he observed.

Mr Michael W Gebhardt, Head of CounterEnergy International Travel Agents’ Community, recommended that all private travel portals should place UNWTO’s child protection campaign logo on their websites. It would work as deterrence for the consumers of child sex market who mainly come from the developed or the western world. Spreading the awareness this way will warn the consumer and send them a message that there’re organizations in the world that are watching it all.

Ms Sherry S Sibanda, Minister Counsellor in Tourism at the Embassy of Zimbabwe in Paris, said that poverty also plays a big role in adding fuel to the fire. Children in Africa are literally enraged over the rampant pornography facilitated by many factors such as armed conflicts, destitution, divorces and high incidence of HIV-AIDS. It’s high time we organised such conferences in Africa instead of here in Berlin. She suggested that UNWTO, in collaboration with media, should hold awareness workshops at the UN’s regional offices in developing countries, especially in Africa.

CONCLUDING REMARKS

Ms Nele Obermüller summed up that if statistics show that there are 30 million cases of Human Trafficking the world over and 4 million cases in US alone, there must be certain parts of the tourism infrastructure facilitating this. She encouraged everyone to be more vigilant in reporting any suspected case of exploitation or trafficking.

Mr Jürgen Steinmetz seconded the view of Ms Nele Obermüller by proposing for an enhanced partnership between the media and UNWTO. He said that this partnership is very important and we should endeavour to make it stronger by boosting our collaboration with governments and other state actors.

Ms Sandy Dhuyvetter wrapped her arguments by suggesting that united we stand, whereas divided we fall. Together we are better than alone, and therefore we should all, including UNWTO, organise events together to teach people how to report child abuse to put an end to it. It’s not a difficult task when she alone has trained people at 3 airports, namely Dallas, New Orleans and Phoenix.

Prof Mike Jempson concluded that the training and monitoring of journalists is very crucial. Likewise, the social media should also play a more active role in combating the crime of exploitation of children.

Mr John Bell, recalling that 4 of his journalist friends are in jails in Cairo, he vehemently expressed that here we are dealing with the people who are not like us. Those who ruthlessly exploit kids don’t treat them as children but as their possessions. And we as journalists are under immense pressure. There are very few good developments. For example the UK government has put a Slavery Commission at British airports. Likewise, he commended BanglaNatak, an NGO in West Bengal state of India that has done wonderful work against Child Labour.

REPORTING SESSION

  1. Mr Márcio Favilla, Executive Director at UNWTO, introduced the Reporting Session on behalf of the Secretary-General. He informed that this session works as a platform for fomenting good practices between the media and the child protection stakeholders. It showcases the success stories as also alerts us against the threats the children and youth may be facing in Tourism. Extending condolences over the recent demise of Mr Ronald Michael O'Grady, the founder of ECPAT, he said that ECPAT has been very instrumental in curbing all forms of exploitation of children and has been a valuable partner of UNWTO in past 15 years. It was on the recommendation of ECPAT that UNWTO established the Task Force on Protection of Children in 1997 which was later on renamed to World Tourism Network on Child Protection. After thanking the guests for their continued engagement with this network, he invited Ms Dorothy Rozga to share her experiences.

  1. Ms Dorothy Rozga, Executive Director at ECPAT International, announced that ECPAT has embarked on a Global Study on Sexual Exploitation of Children in Travel and Tourism which will formally begin in May 2014. She said a lot has changed since 1993 when ECPAT formally came into being, which is why a comprehensive study on this matter is required. She enumerated the following changes in this phenomenon:

  • With the exponential growth in tourism, more and more children are at risk. As per one study, 2 million children are affected annually at current trends.

  • In some countries such as Philippines, the community and family members of the affected children rationalise their exploitation under the pretext that they are poor and this is the only way the can feed their families.

  • The genesis of a plethora of web portals has further simplified the process for anonymous offenders. Now it’s possible to decide what age-group you prefer while booking a child online.

  • The profile of perpetrators has changed. According to new trends, there has been a shift from tourists to travellers and international to domestic. Moreover, they are no more limited to western travellers. Thus, we have altogether new origins and destinations of the perpetrators and victims, respectively.

  • Some countries have provided for an extra-territorial application of the legislation against exploitation of children in cases where such crimes are committed by their nationals during their stay abroad.

  • Irregular tourism development and weak enforcement laws in some countries further aggravate the problem.

  • There is lack of reliable data. Since the exploitation of children is a criminal act, it becomes even more difficult to collect data. In this regard, she recalled Bill Gate’s words in Davos, “If you can’t measure a problem, you can’t solve it”.

She pointed out to the impact it has on victimised children. To really fight the menace head-on, it’s necessary to rehabilitate such children because merely reporting their case in news media won’t serve any justice to their destroyed lives. Her study aims at providing updated global figures to decision-makers. It’ll be carried out by a task force of 7 eminent persons under the chairmanship of Mr Jean-Cyril Spinetta, the Honorary Chairman of AIRFRANCE KLM Group. The names of the other 6 members of the task force will be announced when confirmed. Promoting collective action, the study will be done by holding interviews, consultations and focused group discussions after regional and international evaluation. The preliminary findings, outcome and recommendations of the study are expected by June 2015. She welcomed collaboration from other participants in her study by distributing a Draft Concept Paper among other participants of the meeting. Presentation of Ms Dorothy Rozga

  1. Ms Afrooz Kaviani, Programme Director at World Vision’s East Asia Regional Office, gave an account of the Project Childhood, an Australian Government initiative in collaboration with World Vision in Mekong area of Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam. It began more than 3 years ago and will be completed this year. It focuses on two main aspects.

  • Prevention of Exploitation of Children in Tourism, which is entrusted directly to World Vision, and

  • Protection of Children from Exploitation in Tourism, which covers the criminal aspects and tends to strengthen the legal framework. It’s done with the collaboration of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.

She informed that last year there’s been a 10% rise in international tourist arrivals in the Mekong region.

COUNTRY INTERNATIONAL TOURIST ARRIVALS
Cambodia 4.2 million
Laos 3.8 million
Thailand 26.7 million
Vietnam 7.6 million

Source: World Vision – East Asia Office

Thus, a relatively small region is attracting an incredibly increasing number of global tourists. It makes the children more vulnerable to sexual exploitation, particularly in Thailand that has witnessed arrivals of 26.7 million international tourists last year. The World Vision has trained a total of 8000 girls and boys in this region in empowering them with protective behaviour by imparting age-specific information. She lamented that the children there face huge knowledge deficit in terms of what they learn from parents and what they are trained by World Vision. She noticed that parents have no idea that boys too are equally at risk. World Vision under her stewardship has involved National Tourism Organisations, businesses, research media firms, travellers, parents and care-takers, and some 2000 other frontline players such as community representatives, teachers and social workers in the Child Safe Tourism training programme. Under this training they learn about the modus-operandi of the offenders. In many cases, the perpetrators build sufficient level of trust with their target children in order to escape being caught or raise suspicion. Child Safe Tourism campaign is being run in collaboration with Ministries of Tourism, Sport or Culture of these countries. It has also imparted training to sole proprietors and travel associations such as Kiwi Travel, Intrepid Travel and PATA Thailand. She concluded that World Vision East Asia Regional Office is complementary to ECPAT and The Code and is different from them with respect to its focus on the vulnerability ingredient of children, including orphans and beggars, on a sub-regional level. Trained travellers avoid getting indulged in otherwise potentially problematic behaviour with their host communities. Presentation of Ms Afrooz Kaviani

  1. Mr Stephen Farrant, Director at International Tourism Partnership (ITP), reported on the accomplishments of ITP which is a network of 23,500 hotels encompassing over 3.5 million rooms and 1.5 million employees. In 2010, ITP formed a Working Group that undertook the following 3 tasks:

  • Raising awareness about child exploitation
  • Developing and communicating industry-wide statement on zero tolerance against child abuse in hospitality sector
  • Reintegration of the surviving children by incorporating them into employment programmes

ITP has been sending staff recruitment guidelines to these hotels as also imparting training to their security personnel and house staff. In 2013, its success story was also published by the Guardian.

The reintegration of the child victims is done under its Youth Career Initiative (YCI) programme that started in Bangkok and now spans over 12 countries. YCI is a rehabilitation-cum-work-skills programme that trains young people from 18 to 21 years of age for 6 months. Around 85% of them secure a job in hospitality or service industry within one month of graduating.

In 2010, ITP launched its pilot programme within the YCI in collaboration with the US State Department, under which 20-25% of its pupils are drawn from the survivors of human trafficking. First started in Mexico in collaboration with the Infantia Foundation, it was recently launched in Hanoi (Vietnam) and in future will be expanded to other countries. He said the children who get training as part of this programme become crusaders against human trafficking once they start working in hospitality industry with renewed zeal. Nonetheless, we shouldn’t become complacent because exploitation of children spreads over all industries and markets. Presentation of Mr Stephen Farrant

  1. Mr Theo Noten, Programme Manager at ECPAT Netherlands, shared the first-hand experience of ECPAT NL in fight against child exploitation in Cambodia, Dominican Republic, Gambia, Philippines and Thailand as part of a project sponsored by the Dutch Ministry of External Affairs under two phases: 2008-2010 and then 2011-2013. ECPAT NL focused on reporting and spreading awareness about its Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children among the tourism stakeholders such as private and public sector tourism organizations with a limited financial budget. ECPAT NL thus played the role of an enabler while its partners implemented the project.

  • Cambodia: It’s essential to work in close cooperation with the Government and the police otherwise it would be like landing in no-man’s land. Likewise, it’s important to choose right hotels for training purposes. The campaign in Cambodia largely involved reporting child protection messages on the reverse side of city maps.

  • Dominican Republic: ECPAT NL worked with small organizations in coastal areas that were helped by the youth. ECPAT NL received full support and appreciation from the hotels.

  • Gambia: The biggest challenge was reluctance from the community members who didn’t see child exploitation as a problem, rather a means of survival in the face of abysmal poverty. Therefore, community involvement is indispensable here.

  • Philippines: Participation from the youth, local governments and community are very important. He recalled the active support from rickshaw drivers in spreading awareness.

  • Thailand: Child abuse is more common at night. He recalled an altercation between a hotelier and his client who became furious after the former put an anti-child prostitution poster at the hotel’s entrance.

He recommended the maximum involvement of the hoteliers. It could be expedited by engaging them in e-learning. He expressed regret that in all these countries, the internet services are not at par with the requirements of e-learning. Presentation of Mr Theo Noten

  1. Ms Rosa Martha Brown, President and Founder of Infantia Foundation (Mexico), gave a presentation on the success story of a newly introduced certificate for the travel industry stakeholders choosing to join the Mexican Code of Conduct. The Code counts with more than 1000 signatories including a total of 32 secretaries from the Ministry of Tourism. It consists of 9 points that primarily focus on Corporate Social Responsibility within the tourism sector. Awarded by the Tourism Secretary herself, this certificate will set quality standards in the hotel and tourism industry and also prove instrumental in bringing about peace and child-friendly environment. A result of Infantia Foundation’s 14 years collaboration with the public and private sector in Mexico, all tourism stakeholders take pride in receiving it as a mark of their commitment towards child protection. She informed that March 2014 onwards, Infantia Foundation plans to impart online training to more than 7000 employees of the tourism sector. In addition to this, the Infantia Foundation is also dedicated to the Youth Career Initiative (YCI) project in partnership with Mr Stephen Farrant, Director of International Tourism Partnership (ITP). Presentation of Ms Rosa Martha Brown

  1. National Campaign Videos during the Reporting Session:

  • Ms Rosa Martha Brown presented a video message which is to be used over various platforms to spread awareness about her campaign in Mexico:

  • Uruguay’s Directorate General of Publication and Printing, Ministry of Education and Culture presented a similar video as part of its campaign in child protection:

QUESTION ROUND

Mr Frans de Man, Director of Retour Foundation NL, drew the audience’s attention toward two new trends in Dominican Republic. The Tourist Development Schemes that involve land acquisition at cheap rates leave a number of families without any means of survival and in many cases it was noticed that most of the children who were victims of child abuse came from such families. The other trend was that with the passage of time, the hotspots of child exploitation keep shifting their locations. For example, if earlier it used to be Cabarete, now it’s Punta Cana. So, there’s a complex link among tourism development plans, in particular those based on all-inclusive holiday models, and the vulnerability of children. He expressed a desire to address these issues in the future agenda of UNWTO.

Ms Antje Lüdemann, Child Protection Advocacy Officer at World Vision (Germany), raised the question as to what role can the media play in the face of such new trends in tourism development models, to which Mr Theo Noten replied that good news hardly sells unless the media organizations buy more advertising time and content. Then we should also distinguish between regular media reporters and journalists including the investigative journalists. What we can do is to know which media organization would listen to us, and based upon that knowledge we can urge them to take our questions to right politicians. After all, politics is ruled by media these days. Mr John Bell said it’ll make a bigger media story if you publish the details of references on your brochures.  Likewise, Prof Mike Jempson said that the story must trigger more stories in order to qualify as newsworthy. For instance, news coverage on parenting in targeted areas will make a good story. Ms Afrooz Kaviani elaborated examples of Google and Facebook Ads as valuable media partners. In her case, Google Ads showered a bonus of 100.000$ worth of free advertisements through Google account. Mr Tom Buncle of Yellow Railroad Ltd. advised that small contributions on our own level could make a huge difference. For example, instead of relying heavily on traditional media firms, what we can do is upload videos on YouTube and link them to our websites.

  1. Mr Márcio Favilla then closed the meeting by thanking all the speakers and participants.

***

Report authored by: Nick Balhara Dalal


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Twelfth Meeting of the World Committee on Tourism Ethics

Location

UNWTO Secretariat Madrid
Spain
40° 25' 0.39" N, 3° 42' 13.644" W
Approve event: 
No
4 March 2013 - 5 March 2013
Location: 
40° 25' 0.39" N, 3° 42' 13.644" W

The Twelfth Meeting of the World Committee on Tourism Ethics, held in Madrid, Spain, on the 4th and 5th of March 2013, commended the UNWTO Private Sector Commitment to the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism initiative and praised the growing number of signatory businesses who pledged to uphold responsible conduct in the tourism sector.

As the body responsible for promoting and monitoring the implementation of the UNWTO Global Code of Ethics for Tourism, the Committee applauded the significant advancements in UNWTO’s engagement with the private sector, as well as the 47 companies and associations which signed the Code between September 2011 and February 2013. These include major tourism associations from Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and Mexico, among others.

With their signature, these companies have pledged to implement and promote the Code’s values, both by integrating ethical practices into their business operations, and by reporting to the World Committee on Tourism Ethics on the actions they undertake”, said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai, in his welcome remarks to the participants.

The Chairman of the World Committee, Dawid De Villiers, called for a renewed commitment to ethical standards and values, stressing that “we live in difficult times and peoples and nations around the world are facing enormous challenges”. He explained that “the tourism sector can make a valuable contribution to peace and progress if all stakeholders commit themselves to the principles and values of the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism. The Code is our roadmap towards a better future”.

Advancing accessible tourism for all

Accessibility is a key area of UNWTO’s work in sustainable tourism development. Against this backdrop, the Committee also discussed the on-going updating of the 2005 UNWTO Recommendations on “Accessible Tourism for All”. The revised Recommendations will be submitted for approval to the upcoming UNWTO General Assembly next August.

Committee members also welcomed the production of a “Manual on Developing Universal Accessibility”, a result of UNWTO’s collaboration with the Spanish ONCE Foundation, the European Network for Accessible Tourism (ENAT) and the ACS Foundation, expected to be available later this year.

Other issues discussed by the Committee included consumer protection, travel facilitation, sustainable tourism following Rio+20, intangible cultural heritage and fair tourism.


Relevant links:
Press release of the Committee's 12th meeting

For more information on the World Committee on Tourism Ethics, please click here

Category
Event type: 
Meeting
Related to: 
Global Code of Ethics for Tourism
Ethics & Social Responsibility Programme
Programme
UNWTO
Event or Session: 
This is a main event

BIT Conference "Accessibility in tourism: an ethical value, a business opportunity"

Location

Milan
Italy
45° 27' 55.6344" N, 9° 11' 11.4576" E
Approve event: 
No
14 February 2013
Location: 
45° 27' 55.6344" N, 9° 11' 11.4576" E

An international conference on "Accessibility in tourism: an ethical value, a business opportunity", will be held on February 14, 2013, in connection with this year's edition of BIT Milan. The event has been organized by the Permanent Secretariat of the World Committee on Tourism Ethics (hosted by the Italian Presidency of the Council of Ministers at the Office for Tourism Policies of the Department of Regional Affairs, Tourism and Sport), and with the full support of UNWTO.

For more information, please see the event's Programme


See also:

BIT Milan 2013 website

Category
Event type: 
Conference
Related to: 
Global Code of Ethics for Tourism
Ethics & Social Responsibility Programme
Programme
UNWTO
Non-UNWTO
Event or Session: 
This is a main event

28th meeting of the World Tourism Network on Child Protection

Location

International Conference Center (ICC), Hall 7 Berlin
Germany
52° 31' 9.0156" N, 13° 24' 21.9276" E
Approve event: 
No
8 March 2013
Location: 
52° 31' 9.0156" N, 13° 24' 21.9276" E

The World Tourism Network on Child Protection convened for its 28th meeting on the 8th of March 2013 in the context of the ITB Berlin International Tourism Fair. With a view towards exchanging information, experiences and best practices on the protection of children in tourism, the Network operates as a global platform of the sector’s key-players, drawing together governments, the tourism industry, international organisations, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and media associations.

The central focus of the Network's 28th meeting was a special session on “Information Communication Technologies: Protection of Children in Tourism”. The meeting further featured a reporting session, affording representatives of national tourism administrations, the tourism industry, NGOs and specialised media outlets an opportunity to report on new projects concerning child protection in tourism.


Report

Report of the twenty-eight meeting of the
World Tourism Network on Child Protection

(formerly the Task Force for the Protection of Children in Tourism)

(ITB, Berlin, Germany, 8 March 2013)

Download a PDF of this report here (Please note that links to presentations within this PDF may not function properly)

1. The World Tourism Network on Child Protection (formerly the Task Force for the Protection of Children in Tourism) held its 28th meeting in Berlin on 8 March 2013, in the context of the ITB Tourism Fair. Attended by over 60 delegates, the meeting featured a special session on “Information Communication Technologies: Protection of Children in Tourism”. The event further featured a reporting session in which representatives of governments, international organisations, the tourism industry, and NGOs related information on projects concerned with the protection of children in tourism.

INTRODUCTORY REMARKS

2. Dr. Dawid De Villiers, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Network, welcomed the participants and expressed his satisfaction at seeing so many familiar faces. He noted that, given the current financial problems, many people were not able to attend ITB and the present gathering. Dr. De Villiers then gave the floor to Mr. Zoltan Somogyi, UNWTO Executive Director for Member Relations and Services.    

3. Mr. Zoltan Somogyi, stressed the importance of child protection in tourism, and of preventing, combating, and eradicating child exploitation throughout the sector. He remarked on the great importance of tourism as a global phenomenon, with international arrivals projected to soar to 1.8 billion by 2030, nearly twice the 1 billion arrivals registered in 2012. This growth not only entails extensive economic benefits, he said, but also implies important challenges and responsibilities. Without concerns for sustainability, he cautioned, tourism infrastructure can be misused for ends like the exploitation and abuse of children. To mitigate such damaging potential risk, amongst others, UNWTO formulated the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism, which was endorsed by the UNWTO General Assembly in 1999 and the UN General Assembly in 2001. A guide for responsible and sustainable tourism development, it states that “the exploitation of human beings in any form, especially when applied to children, conflicts with the fundamental aims of tourism and is the negation of tourism” (Article 2.3). Mr. Somogyi stressed the need to speak openly about this issue, and above all, to act decisively. He explained that UNWTO’s Child Protection Network has served as a forum for the exchange of experiences on the issue of child exploitation for sixteen years, most of which was under the Chairmanship of Dr. De Villiers. He credited the body with helping to facilitate partnerships between the public and the private sectors, promote cooperation between tourist generating and destination countries, and encourage collaboration between the tourism industry and civil society.

4. Mr. Somogyi observed that the development of new technologies has gone hand in hand with the rise of the tourism sector, and will continue to increase exponentially in the future. He argued that, although such technologies, particularly the internet, can be misused by criminals to exploit children they can also be used to fight exploitation. He recalled the role they have to play in awareness raising, spreading messages on child protection in tourism to travellers, tourism policy makers, and service providers worldwide. They can be used to educate and train individuals to respond to the problem.

5. Dr. De Villiers elaborated on the Network’s past and importance, recalling that, in 1996, ECPAT approached UNWTO with a request to facilitate meetings on the subject of child protection. This prompted the first meeting of the “Task Force for the Protection of Children in Tourism” in 1997, and has been followed by further 28 meetings at ITB Berlin and at WTM London. Since 2008, meetings have taken place annually at ITB. Since 2003, 173 presentations have been given by 23 governments, 11 international and regional organizations, 17 non-governmental organizations, 9 tourism associations, 16 tourism industry companies, 3 members of the media, 1 representative of an academic institution, and 3 consultants, many of whom presented on various occasions. Stressing the difficulties in initially encouraging participation in the Network, given that many ignored the fact that child exploitation in tourism exists, he welcomed the growing support for the network and emphasized the importance of activities on the ground in terms of the progress made to date. Dr. De Villiers made clear that the problem of child abuse affects communities in every single country in the world, persists across time and must be dealt with unrelenting severity. Referring to an article published in The Times on the 6th of March, 2013, he noted that cases exist even in the United Kingdom, with the number of victims now considered to be considerably higher than previously thought. This calls into question the way the matter is being investigated and prosecuted and   highlights the need for urgent measures to counter the problem in the UK and other developed countries. He concluded his remarks by announcing UNWTO Secretariat had selected some 15 exemplary cases presented at past meetings of the Network for inclusion in a brochure that will be made available online. Dr. de Villiers then introduced the theme of the special session; “Information Communication Technologies: Protection of Children in Tourism”, and gave the floor to, Mr. Jürgen Steinmetz, member of the Network’s Executive Committee and a specialist in communication technology.

SPECIAL SESSION: “INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES: PROTECTION OF CHILDREN IN TOURISM”

6. Mr. Jürgen Steinmetz expressed his delight that the same participants come back to the Network’s meeting every year, but regretted that the group is not broader and that the topic does not get the attention it deserves. Lamenting that limited, and sometimes even declining, funding impeded planned initiatives such as the launching of the Network’s web portal. He urged UNWTO to do more to support the Network, highlighting technology as a means of doing this inexpensively and effectively. Mr Steinmetz then announced that his colleague, Ms. Sandy Dhuyvetter, would moderate the session.

7. Ms. Sandy Dhuyvetter, Executive Producer and Host of Travel Talk Media, introduced her background as a journalist active in travel media and explained her involvement with NGOs such as Airline Ambassadors International, which provides relief to under-privileged communities worldwide and trains airline employees to respond to phenomena like Human Trafficking. She then gave the floor to the session’s speakers.

8. Mr. Peter Davies, Chief Executive Officer of the UK’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP), explained that his organization is a law enforcement-lead child protection centre affiliated with the UK National Crime Agency. CEOP works with law enforcement in the UK and partners around the world (law enforcement, NGO and the private sector) to protect children from sexual exploitation and sexual abuse in the UK as well as abroad, since child abuse is sometimes perpetrated by British citizens in other regions. He explained that CEOP’s work is based on the three P’s: “Prevention”, “Protection” and “Pursuit”, and that a fourth P could also be added: “Partnership”. The threats CEOP covers are both online and offline, as both worlds cannot be disentangled. Serious online child sexual abuse includes possessing and distributing indecent images of children, whereas two offline areas include (1) cases of sexual child abuse in the UK, as referred to by Mr. Keir Starmer, the Director of Public Prosecutions in the UK in The Times article of 6th of March 2013 mentioned by Dr. De Villiers, and (2) “transnational child sexual abuse”, formerly designated as “traveling sex offenders”.  Mr. Davies stressed that, although tourism can play an important role in the perpetration of child exploitation, there are other factors which are often less understood. Some of the people who pose the greatest danger for children in many countries aren’t tourists but residents, embedding themselves in communities, often in positions of trust (ex: teachers, public authorities, etc.) and using this as a means of access to vulnerable children. A new phenomenon we are dealing with, Mr. Davies said, is technology-enabled international child abuse. He gave two examples from 2012: (1) Some 80 teenagers, mainly girls, had their Facebook accounts hijacked and were blackmailed into performing sexual acts on webcam, in order to regain control of their Facebook accounts. CEOP traced the offenders, located in Kuwait. They never left their country, never met any of their victims, and deployed technical means to target vulnerable children and young people in another part of the world for their gratification. Thanks to the collaboration of the local authorities, the offenders were brought to justice and are currently in prison in Kuwait. (2) Another example where the threat emanates from the UK (or other countries) and abuse takes place in other parts of the world is the example of an organized crime group in the Philippines, which has arranged for the paid abuse of children online. Abusers pay to select a child, decide what kind of abuse the victim will suffer, have it performed and have the video streamed back to them. This kind of abuse is extremely harmful and must be tackled, Mr. Davies emphasized, just as any form of child abuse. What is apparent from such examples, he highlighted, is that the very nature of child sex abuse is changing. These changes have to be understood and kept up with. The CEO of CEOP concluded by giving an example of the Centre’s recent prevention initiatives, notably the recently launched International Child Protection Certificate, which enables any employer to get a criminal record check done of a UK national before they are employed (CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) check). Mr. Davies recommended that organizations check their future UK employees in this way in order to minimize the risk of child abuse.

9. Mr. Bakri, Director of Society Empowerment of Tourism Destinations of the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy of Indonesia, spoke of efforts to prevent sexual exploitation of children in his country’s tourism sector. He pointed out that the occurrence of the sexual exploitation of children is rising, partly due to the growing importance of information technologies, and given certain legislative actions in Indonesia concerning freedom of information. In 2012, there were 63 million internet users in the country who are mostly young people. Children have become more vulnerable to cybercrime since ICT now has a prominent place in their private lives. Most parents are internet illiterate, and are not aware that their children might be exposed to sexual crime on the internet. Mr. Bakri highlighted measures taken by the government to fight child abuse, referring especially to Law 11 (2008) on Electronic Information and Transaction, Law 44 (2008) on Pornography, and Law 23 (2002) on Child Protection. As the sexual exploitation of children is considered a severe crime in Indonesia, the Government has launched several campaigns involving tourism industry and NGO partners, aimed at actively involving society in child protection programs such as the “Wise While Online Campaign” of the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology. The Ministry of Tourism supports the efforts of provincial and regional tourism authorities to counter child sexual abuse in destinations including Bali, Jakarta, Lombok, Batam, North Sulawesi and North Sumatra through stricter control of the employment of young persons (under the age of 18) in tourism businesses (such as karaoke clubs, massage and spa parlous, restaurants, bars, and hotels) and with regards to instances of sexual abuse in hotels. Further actions have included the signature of the Commitment to the Global Code of Ethics by tourism industry stakeholders (September 2012), a campaign against the sexual exploitation of children, sanctioning tourism business involved in the exploitation of children, and legal punishment for perpetrators of child sexual abuse. In 2012, an investigation in three areas in Indonesia was carried out in collaboration with ECPAT, which brought to light 94 cases of children whose identity was falsified and who were forced to work in tourism businesses. Speaking of online cases of child abuse, Mr. Bakri mentioned research undertaken by the Facebook Indonesia in 2012 which shows that a trend is evolving toward online sex purchasing, with 18,747 images of children to be trafficked uploaded on the page - the highest figure in the Asian Region. Mr. Bakri concluded by emphasizing the Ministry’s work and noting that, while child abuse may never cease to exist, the task of all partners is to at least reduce the problem significantly. Presentation of Mr. Bakri

10. Ms. Aarti Kapoor, Regional Program Manager of Project Childhood at the Prevention Pillar of AusAid/World Vision, Australia, spoke of understanding the ICT risks to children and the ways to keep them safe, focusing particularly on Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam. Project Childhood, she explained, is a 3.5 year project of the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAid) aimed at combatting the sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism. Its “Protection Pillar” works on law enforcement and criminal justice, and is being implemented by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). World Vision is responsible for the implementation of the “Prevention Pillar”, which includes raising awareness about child sexual abuse in tourism through training and education campaigns. World Vision works at five different levels across the four countries: (1) community resilience in tourism destinations, (2) national helplines and ICT portals to support children’s access to help, (3) public and private sector response through a campaign for tourists and travellers on Child Safe Tourism, and through training for the tourism sector, (4) assistance to governments and (5) international advocacy and knowledge sharing. She then explained how ICT is being used in the four South-East Asian countries, noting the popularity of mobile phones over fixed lines and of internet cafes and shared hubs over fixed broadband. She pointed out that children, including street children, are increasingly using the internet, mainly in popular tourism destinations. They mainly engage in gaming (as well as gambling, thus incurring debts), social networking (Facebook, MSN) and texting. ICT is also increasingly used by offenders, not only to groom, but also to produce child sexual abuse images, and to book abusive experiences at destinations. Offenders also increasingly meet children in internet cafes. The risk factors, Ms. Kapoor explained, include a lack of appropriate sex education at schools, the accessibility of adult pornography, and parents feeling too uncomfortable to talk about sex to their children. Additionally, the internet is often seen as ‘poison’ by parents and duty bearers, thus children while online, are far away from parental control. Finally, she underscored a general lack of education about keeping safe. World Vision’s response to this situation consists of educational interventions on preventing child sexual abuse which address children, parents, carers and duty bearers (i.e. teachers, police and social workers). Key messages relate to discrediting myths, fostering communication and sharing ideas for protective behaviour, for instance, noting that boys are as much at risk as girls, that the internet is not an evil place, that communication between parents and children has to be fostered, and that children must be encouraged to trust their instincts. Ms. Kapoor concluded that the use of the internet and ICT is a focus for the changing nature of child abuse, and that it is necessary to keep a close eye on it, build a good evidence base, and stay informed about the latest information on the issue. Presentation of Ms. Kapoor

11. Ms. Dhuyvetter inquired about the age group to which the presentation referred. Ms. Kapoor replied that it only included children between 12 and 17 since they could be interviewed without their parents present.   

12. Mr. Andreas Astrup, General Manager of The Code discussed updating The Code using “Cloud Technology”. He recalled that The Code is an industry-driven, multi-stakeholder initiative with a mission to provide awareness, tools and support to the tourism industry in order to combat the sexual exploitation of children in tourism. Six criteria have been defined for implementation by the tourism industry to protect children from sex tourism. The Code has been very successful in campaigning, raising awareness and recruiting. Implementation, however, has been harder to achieve. This is why a new online ‘cloud’ based tool has been developed over the past year to (1) standardize work processes, (2) provide the necessary tools for easy implementation, (3) meet the demand for staff training within the travel industry, (4) reach out to new companies, including within high-risk sectors, and (5) strengthen reporting and transparency to give The Code a clear identity with attractive benefits for its members. The tool includes a new CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system and an LCR (Local Code Representatives) Portal to which local representatives have access and can add and update data. It further consists of a Members Portal where companies can login and start implementing The Code online, alongside a new website and a scenario-based e-learning tool. Mr. Astrup explained these three facets in detail before presenting an overview of the membership process, from signing up to becoming a leading member. Apart from approving the company, the entire process is now handled automatically within the system, whereas everything previously had to be done manually by staff. This affords them far more time for recruiting new companies and supporting The Code’s current members. Presentation of Mr. Astrup

13. Ms. Dhuyvetter thanked the speakers and opened the floor to questions from the audience. 

14. Ms. Alice Macek of ECPAT UK asked Mr. Davies to give examples of CEOP’s collaboration with NGOs and the travel industry in the UK and overseas. Mr. Davies pointed to the partnership with the International Child Protection Network, which is especially active in South East Asia and Eastern Europe. He expressed his hope of extending such activities in all worlds’ regions where UK citizens pose a particular threat. He also mentioned the Corporate Charter, which obliges companies to assume a certain amount of responsibility for enacting child safe policies and practices within their organization. In this context, CEOP works with organizations and companies that want to know what they can do to protect children, providing them with the necessary tools to do so. He also highlighted the International Child Protection Certificate mentioned in his presentation. In terms of working with the tourism industry, Mr. Davies underlined links with the International Child Protection Network, as well as efforts made to involve airlines in awareness-raising, especially in South East Asia.  

15. Dr. de Villiers thanked the participants, before introducing the speakers of the reporting session.

REPORTING SESSION

16. Ms. Nguyen Thi Ha, Child Protection Specialist at UNICEF Viet Nam presented an analysis of the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in various provinces and cities in Viet Nam. She introduced a recently published report as a result of the collaboration between the Vietnamese government and UNICEF (http://www.unicef.org/vietnam). Ms. Nguyen expressed her special thanks to Ms. Anita Dodds who contributed to the report as an independent researcher, and to Ms. Le Thi Ha, Director of the Social Evil Prevention Department, Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs. Ms. Nguyen explained that, a quarter of Viet Nam’s population is under 16 years of age, some 1.6 million of whom are in need of special protection. The tourism industry is growing rapidly, with more than six million international visitors in 2012, mainly from China, South Korea, Japan, Western Europe and the US. Tourists visit both major cities and remote areas and ethnic hill tribes. Although tourism is important, the country wants to ensure its children are safe. Vietnamese laws prohibit prostitution and child sexual exploitation, but nevertheless, cases of abuse persist. A number of stakeholders were interviewed for the report, including 100 children, 50 of whom are victims of commercial sexual exploitation. The majority reported that their abusers included foreigners. Most victims were between 12 and 15 years old, both boys and girls. Child sex tourism was found to occur in all the locations researched by the Report, usually in hotels and guesthouses. Foreign sex offenders are known to operate both independently and within organised networks. In 2005 and 2006, seven offenders were arrested for sex crimes against children. Ms. Nguyen noted that ICT plays an important role in the expansion of sexual exploitation in Viet Nam since it provides new mechanisms by which foreigners and traffickers can lure victims, and disseminate indecent images of children. 14 of the child respondents reported that customers collected images of them while engaged in sex, and it is known that children have been forced to participate in ‘body show’ and ‘chat sex’. Customs officials have confiscated inbound pornography at border posts featuring children from other countries, demonstrating that abuse is a regional problem. Ms. Nguyen emphasized the need for a more comprehensive child protection system, focusing on five comprehensive areas: a policy framework, a coordination framework, legal and regulatory systems, social welfare systems, and social behaviour systems. In practical terms, this entails the establishment of a national Task Force (involving the government, the UN, NGO’s, and the private tourism sector), a private sector business forum, a form of recognition for businesses which follow protection requirements, the improvement of child protection in the digital environment, strengthening the protective capacity of families, and conducting a special campaign for young people. Following the launch of the Report, the government of Viet Nam decided to develop a national Plan of Action to protect children from commercial sexual exploitation and hoped for support from international agencies and the private sector in this regard. Presentation of Ms. Nguyen Thi Ha

17.  Mr. Andreas Müseler, Chairman of the Sustainability Committee of DRV (the German Travel Association) discussed implementing The Code in the German travel industry. Noting that the protection of children from sexual exploitation is considered essential, he noted that steps have been taken to fight the phenomenon especially since tourism infrastructure (ex: hotels and airlines) is often used in this context. DRV signed The Code on behalf of its members in 2001, and established a Working Group on Child Protection with tour operators, travel agencies, NGOs, DRV members, the German police, and invited specialists. DRV’s actions consist mainly of awareness-raising activities, such as destination workshops and training, an information brochure entitled “Little Souls – Big Danger”, an in-flight spot “Witnesses”, and a tri-national campaign between Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The destination workshops consist of awareness-raising and the training of employees in destinations, aimed at teaching them how to deal with the sexual exploitation of children in tourism and the particular situations they encounter. The workshops are organized by DRV and its partners, in cooperation with local authorities, ministries, the local police and NGOs, and are considered an important platform for the exchange of experiences. The brochure “Little Souls – Big Danger”, with its simple message “Don’t look away”, contains information for travellers on the sexual exploitation of children in tourism,  features the German reporting address stopp-misbrauch@bka.de (which leads directly to the German police) and the contact details of the project partners. The brochure is distributed via travel agencies, through travel documentation, at airports, and in hotels. The in-light spot “Witnesses” is part of the tri-national campaign to counter child exploitation. It is shown on flights, the websites of travel companies, information screens, and in medical offices, and has been realized with the support of various travel industry partners (Accor Deutschland, Condor Flugdienst, Gebeco, Studiosus Reisen, TUI Deutschland, TUI Fly). Presentation of Mr. Müseler

18. Ms. Miriam Landhofer, Program Officer of the Department for Child Protection and Ethics at REWE Touristik Group - Germany’s second largest tourism company serving 6.6 million clients annually - elaborated on the subject of child protection workshops organized within REWE Touristik Hotels. Ms. Landhofer explained that she was trained by ECPAT and is now responsible for workshops on child protection training addressing management in the establishments run by REWE: Club Calimera, Lti hotels, and PrimaSol. She considers such training very important since hotel premises are often the sites of child exploitation, unless mechanisms are in place to stop this from occurring. In order to make sure these mechanisms are effective, hotels need a clear child protection policy known to every member of staff. Furthermore, staff need a clear strategy of how to react whenever there is any suspicion of child abuse. Consequently, REWE Touristik Hotels organize “train the trainer” workshops, after which managers receive a certificate and material to teach their own staff. Topics discussed during the workshops include: where Child Sex Tourism happens, the identity of offenders and victims, the types of tourism infrastructure misused to perpetrate abuse and the consequences of abuse for both victims and the society in which they live. Workshops further include discussions about national and international laws concerning sex with minors, as well as debates on the role of the tourism industry, and on what employees can do to prevent exploitation. During the workshops, different methods are employed, such as presentations, role play and working groups, with the main focus on the practical implementation of the knowledge acquired. Typical situations that can happen in any hotel are used as examples, and destination-specific role plays have been developed to cope with specific local situations, mentalities and problems. This destination-based approach has proved especially important, and constitutes one of the success factors of the programme. REWE’s aim for 2013 is to cover all its destinations, and to repeat workshops every 1-3 years in each destination. Presentation of Ms. Landhofer

19. Ms. Bharti Patel, Chief Executive Officer of ECPAT UK, discussed the 2012 Olympics Trafficking and Policy Response, asking whether London got it right and presenting an overview of the debate centred on the issue, and of the post-event research carried out by think tanks to advise governments on necessary actions. ECPAT, international children’s rights charity which campaigns for the protection of children exploited in tourism, including child victims of trafficking, is involved in monitoring, research, advocacy, awareness raising, training and supporting victims of exploitation. Child trafficking, Ms. Patel explained, is the movement of a child for the purpose of exploitation organized by traffickers. In the course of the preparations for the 2012 London Olympics, various opposing statements were made by politicians concerning the possible occurrence of child trafficking. Some opined that major sporting events can be a magnet for the global sex and trafficking industry, while others suggested that there is no strong evidence for a positive correlation between human trafficking and such events- The latter view also held that (a) visitors often come in family groups, with restricted budgets: (b) cost-benefit analysis for traffickers would be unfavourable due to the short duration of the events, (c) anti-trafficking measures are disproportionate, unnecessary or harmful and it is argued that genuine sex workers were increasingly criminalised and unable to access health and social programmes, and (d) certain NGOs opportunistically use the sport events to raise awareness to gain support for their cause. The former point of view, however, believes that (a) campaigns countering human trafficking and increased law enforcement are necessary to prevent trafficking, and (b) international sporting events can increase human trafficking due to the short-term increased demand for prostitution, construction work, and other forms of forced labour. The preparation for the Olympics started from the assumption that mega events do have an impact on trafficking. Partners involved in these preparations included the Metropolitan Police, various NGOs and the UK Border Agency. Tools were produced and disseminated by the London Safeguarding Board, and many people were trained to recognize signs of trafficking and the abuse of children, including some 70,000 volunteers. During the events, the available security force was of considerable importance. The responsible Minister admitted that the government’s own research shows trafficking is a real issue in UK, but that evidence of large scale trafficking into London as a result of the Olympics was not found. Ms. Patel indicated that it is difficult to determine whether this was a result of the measures put in place in preparation for the Games, or whether the threat simply didn’t materialise. She confirmed that the preparation made was of a high standard, but added that government policy is remains focused on short-term solutions to the phenomena, such as strengthening borders. She called for policy reform and strategic solutions to address the fundamental causes of trafficking to and within nations, and to formulate a comprehensive policy response which includes oversight, coordination and cross-departmental efforts. She advocated for the appointment of an Independent National Rapporteur to oversee policy development, assess the scale of trafficking, monitor trends and make recommendations to the government, including during high-risk events like the Olympics. Ms. Patel further suggested a system of guardianship with parental responsibility to act in the best interest of child trafficking victims, and safe accommodation for all victims with due consideration for their physical, psychological, legal, linguistic and security needs. She mentioned existing tools to prevent and eradicate child trafficking, such as The Code and its e-learning tools, as well as tools set up by individual countries. On a pan-European level, she indicated that work is being carried out on the second stage of the “Don’t Look Away” campaign, which will highlight risks during the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Olympics in Brazil. Presentation of Ms. Patel

20. Ms. Anna Quartucci, President of T.a.T.A., Italy, presented the “Safe Host” project. Receiving support from the European Commission, the project promotes European social dialogue in taking action against the sexual exploitation of children in tourism. Ms. Quartucci highlighted the internet as an important change affecting child sex tourism, as its use makes it difficult to monitor travellers and their activities. She also indicated that by December 2015, all EU member states will have to take the necessary measures to comply with the Directive 2011/92/EU on combating the sexual exploitation of children and child pornography. She said that the private tourism sector can play a strategic role therein, and that it is consequently crucial to adopt a multi-stakeholder strategy to harmonize policies and practices within the EU. She emphasized that sustainable and responsible tourism has to be child-wise and child-safe, and put values and ethics above profits. The Safe Host project supports joint initiatives of European social partners, including trade unions and employers in the tourism sector, to combat child sexual exploitation. Additionally, an agreement between the partners on tackling child sex tourism is pursued. The specific objectives of the project are to (1) identify models of good practice for the whole tourism supply chain and methods to avoid the use of tourism channels for the purpose of child exploitation, (2) promote networking and knowledge sharing among key actors in the tourism sector, (3) strengthen synergies and exchanges between European social partners to foster the harmonization of policies and practices for the prevention of and the fight against child sex tourism, and (4) contribute to the implementation of Directive 2011/92/EU and of the Europe 2020 strategy. Ms. Quartucci elaborated on the tools used within the programme - with ECPAT as special partner - notably a Data Collection Form (DCF) to provide an overview of good practices from on preventing the use of tourism facilities for exploitative purposes, such as codes of conduct, collective agreements, social dialogue agreements, or CSR policies; a tool box to provide training and awareness-raising material for HORECA travel agency and transportation employees; guidelines for tourism companies; and a label for raising awareness to be featured on travel and accommodation contracts. She expressed her hope that the project will encourage everyone involved in the tourism sector to contribute to fighting child abuse. Presentation of Ms. Quartucci

21. Ms. Rosa Martha Brown, Founder and Director of Fundación Infantia spoke of child protection in Mexico. The main partner and contributor to the Foundation’s initiatives is the Mexican Ministry of Tourism, whom she thanked for their support. One of 2012’s main achievements was the increased commitment of the travel industry to fighting child sex tourism. The main tool used to this end was the Mexican Code of Conduct for the protection of children in tourism and travel, a document based on the international Code of Conduct with additional features to enrich its implementation (a protocol of awareness, a protocol of safe and anonymous denouncements, and a protocol of attention to children). In 2012, over 500 travel agents, companies and local governments were engaged to sign the Code. An alliance was established between the national government, Microsoft, the Human Rights Commission, the Travel Agents Union and Fundación Infantia to enhance the Code. More than 22 Marriott branches in Mexico signed and implemented the document, thereby encouraging other companies to follow suit. A training manual on the Code addressing trainers was drafted, and an alliance was initiated with taxi driver unions. They signed the Code and engaged in raising awareness aimed at both taxi drivers and users, to increase knowledge of the fact that child sex tourism is forbidden and punished by law in Mexico. Bookmarkers were printed and disseminated to restaurants, hotels, and tour operators, to familiarize their clients with the Code. Through CROC (Confederación Revolucionaria de Obreros y Campesinos), the most important workers union in Mexico, Fundación Infantia trained more than 4,000 people, an effort which promises exponential results, since those trained will share their knowledge in each of their companies. Explaining the NGOs goals for 2013, Ms. Brown announced that two Mexican airlines and the National Hotel and Motel Association representing over 4,000 hotels, have agreed to sign the Code. A Protocol on denouncement is to be developed for hotels, irrespective of their size. In June 2013, an online e-learning system will be launched in cooperation with the country’s public authorities. It is expected that the Code will have more than 1,000 signatories by the end of the year. Ms. Brown explained that Fundación Infantia represents the Youth Career Initiative (YCI) in Mexico, where the programme has been implemented in hotels in Mexico City, Cancun and Puerto Vallarta. In 2013, it is expected to be launched in Guadalajara and Monterrey. Mexico was the first country to introduce the issue of child trafficking within the YCI program, a campaign that has proved highly successful. An agreement signed with Starbucks Coffee has also been enriching for YCI, entailing training for young people, comparable to the training given in hotels.

22. Dr. de Villiers thanked the speakers and requested their permission to use the content of their presentations online, in order to raise awareness of their efforts. Recalling that at its last meeting the Executive Committee of the Network suggested mobilizing the media and forming a stronger partnership with them, Dr. De Villiers proposed that the theme of the Network’s 29th gathering be “Media Partnerships for the Protection of Children in Travel and Tourism”, wherein media stakeholders working in television, print media, radio or the internet, would be invited to share their experiences.

 


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Tourism and Intangible Cultural Heritage: A Winning Partnership

Location

International Conference Center (ICC), Hall 7
Messe Berlin, Neue Kantstrasse, D-14055 Berlin
Berlin
Germany
52° 30' 9.7056" N, 13° 14' 7.9728" E
Approve event: 
No
Short event's name : 
Tourism and Intangible Cultural Heritage
8 March 2013
Location: 
52° 30' 9.7056" N, 13° 14' 7.9728" E

Intangible cultural heritage (ICH), embodied in those practices, expressions, knowledge, and skills recognised by communities and individuals as part of humanity’s cultural legacy, has become a principal motivation for global travel. The cultural interaction spurred by such tourism encounters prompts dialogue, builds understanding, and, in turn, fosters tolerance and peace.

This first UNWTO event on Intangible Cultural Heritage and Tourism explored ways of integrating humanity's living heritage into tourism development while fostering the responsible use of intangible assets to bolster employment, alleviate poverty, curb rural flight migration, encourage product diversification, and nurture a sense of pride among communities and destinations.

The event will also featured the launch of the first UNWTO Study on Tourism and Intangible Cultural Heritage, followed by a panel presenting case studies and best practices from the public sector, the tourism industry and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

Pictured above: a Patachitra artist from West Bengal, India, at the event

Further information on the event, including a report on the proceedings, will be available in the coming months.

Cultural performance of Sufi music by artists from West Bengal, India


Presentations


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Accesibilidad: una ventaja competitiva en los destinos turísticos

Locations

Madrid
Spain
40° 25' 0.39" N, 3° 42' 13.644" W
Madrid
Spain
40° 25' 0.39" N, 3° 42' 13.644" W
Approve event: 
No
31 January 2013
Location: 
40° 25' 0.39" N, 3° 42' 13.644" W

El evento “Accesibilidad: una ventaja competitiva en los destinos turísticos”, organizado conjuntamente entre la OMT, la Fundación ONCE e IFEMA, tuvo lugar en el contexto de la Feria Internacional de Turismo de Madrid FITUR 2013, poniendo de relieve buenas prácticas en el ámbito de turismo accesible en Europa y América Latina y haciendo especial hincapié en los destinos accesibles de Uruguay.

La jornada contó con representantes del sector turístico, expertos reconocidos y organizaciones representando personas con discapacidad o necesidades especiales que compartieron sus conocimientos y experiencias en el área de turismo accesible, analizando las oportunidades y los retos en este ámbito. El evento era una ocasión para presentar la colaboración actual entre la OMT, la Fundación ONCE, la Red Europea para el Turismo Accesible (ENAT), y la Fundación ACS, cuyo objetivo es la mejoría de la accesibilidad de los destinos turísticos a escala global.

Informe del evento

Programa del evento

La accesibilidad universal en el turismo: resultados de la cooperación entre la OMT/Fundación ONCE-ENAT/Fundación ACS

Autoría del foto en el "banner" del evento: Sr. José Antonio Juncà Ubierna, Director General de Sociedad y Técnica, SOCYTEC, SL


Presentaciones del evento


 

Informe del evento


“Accessibility: A Competitive Advantage for Tourism Destinations”

Jointly organized by UNWTO, the ONCE Foundation, and IFEMA, the event “Accessibility: A Competitive Advantage for Tourism Destinations”, held at the 2013 edition of the FITUR Madrid tourism fair, highlighted good practices in tourism accessibility from across Europe and Latin America, with a special focus on accessible destinations in Uruguay. 

Tourism stakeholders, leading experts, and organizations representing persons with disabilities and special needs shared their insight and experiences on the subject of accessible tourism, while examining opportunities and challenges in this regard. The event simultaneously elaborated on UNWTO’s on-going collaboration with both the ONCE Foundation, the European Network for Accessible Tourism (ENAT), and the ACS Foundation, in the interests of making tourism destinations ever more accessible worldwide.

Download the event's Programme (Spanish)

Photo credit for the event banner: Mr. José Antonio Juncà Ubierna, Director General of SOCYTEC


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UNODC-UNWTO Side Event on Human Trafficking in the Context of Tourism

Location

Vienna
Austria
48° 12' 29.4264" N, 16° 22' 25.7484" E
Approve event: 
No
24 April 2012
Location: 
48° 12' 29.4264" N, 16° 22' 25.7484" E

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and UNWTO held a joint side event on the subject of “Human Trafficking in the Context of Tourism”, in parallel with the 21st Session of the UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice in Vienna, Austria, on the 24th of April 2012.

The event aimed to raise awareness of the phenomenon of human trafficking in relation to tourism, and to dispel any false sense of security that this form of exploitation bears no relation to the sector. The event conveyed the message that tourism infrastructure can be misappropriated by traffickers for exploitative purposes. While victims of trafficking are most often enslaved for sexual purposes, they may also be found in the kitchens of restaurants or bars, cleaning guesthouses, or engaged in exploitative begging and street hawking. Even the organs of trafficked victims are used today to attract travellers in need of transplants. Above all, the event emphasized that the tourism sector can and should play a vital role in preventing human trafficking. Efforts like the codes of conducts of tourism companies, and laws that allow for the prosecution in their homeland of tourists who engage in sexual conduct with children, must be strengthened and built upon, the event stressed.

UNODC Executive Director, Mr. Yury Fedotov, and UNWTO Secretary-General, Mr. Taleb Rifai, called for concerted global action at every level of society to prevent and combat human trafficking, especially child trafficking, in the tourism sector. “It is appalling to see tourism infrastructure being used by traffickers to victimize the vulnerable," explained the Secretary-General of  UNWTO, "yet our sector is firmly committed to reclaim this same infrastructure and use it for awareness raising in the fight against trafficking.”

Prior to the event, UNODC and UNWTO signed a memorandum of understanding to cooperate on initiatives directed at combating the trafficking of humans, wildlife, and cultural artegacts, in relation to the tourism sector.

 


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International Conference on Universal Values and Cultural Diversity in the 21st Century: How can tourism make a difference? (Yerevan, Armenia)

Location

Yerevan
Armenia
40° 10' 59.9988" N, 44° 31' 0.0012" E
Approve event: 
No
Short event's name : 
Conference on Universal Values and Cultural Diversity in the 21st Century
18 October 2012 - 19 October 2012
Location: 
40° 10' 59.9988" N, 44° 31' 0.0012" E

Jointly organised by the Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Armenia and the UNWTO, the International Conference on “Universal Values and Cultural Diversity in the 21st Century: How can tourism make a difference?” took place in Yerevan on the 18th and 19th of October, 2012. The event drew together high-profile international public and private sector stakeholders to discuss the role of sustainable and responsible tourism as a driver of tolerance, intercultural understanding, mutual respect, and the safeguarding of core cultural values. International and regional experts participated in panels on:  the integration of universal values in responsible tourism; tourism, religion and intercultural dialogue; tourism and the protection of cultural heritage sites; solidarity and tourism’s contribution to poverty alleviation; the links between tourism and intangible cultural heritage; and corporate social responsibility in tourism.

Participants at the International Conference on “Universal Values and Cultural Diversity in the 21st Century: How can tourism make a difference?” (18-19 October 2012, Yerevan, Armenia)

At the close of the Conference, the Yerevan Declaration, highlighting the role of ethical tourism in advancing intercultural dialogue, was adopted unanimously by the event's participants. The Declaration calls on stakeholders from across the sector to promote ethical values in tourism development, help to enhance cultural diversity and safeguard cultural heritage, disseminate the UNWTO Global Code of Ethics for Tourism and to strive to implement its principles. It urges cooperation between governments, the private sector, host communities and other key-players, stresses that care must be taken to maintain the authenticity of local cultural heritage and avoid over-commodification, and encourages community-based tourism projects and the training of tourism staff in this regard. The document is based on the understanding that tourism involves the kind of cultural interaction that builds understanding and promotes respect for diversity, thus serving as a stepping-stone towards tolerance, solidarity and mutual respect.

Also on the occasion of the Conference, five of Armenia’s most prominent tourism companies signed the Private Sector Commitment to the UNWTO Global Code of Ethics for Tourism on the occasion of the International Conference. Representatives of Armenia Marriott Hotel Yerevan, ARM Hotels, Tufenkian Hospitality, the Union of Incoming Tour Operators of Armenia (UITO) and Zvartnots Armenia International Airports, signed the Commitment in the presence of the Minister of Economy of the Republic of Armenia, H.E. Mr. Tigran Davtyan, and UNWTO Secretary-General, Mr. Taleb Rifai. Thereby, these joined an ever growing list of private sector companies and associations that have pledged their dedication to responsible and sustainable tourism by signing the Commitment. Their signature represents a public pledge to uphold, promote and implement the values espoused by the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism.

More information on the Conference is available at event's official website:http://www.tourismevents.am/Default.aspx

Armenian signatories of the Private Sector Commitment to the UNWTO Global Code of Ethics for Tourism, with H.E. Mr. Tigran Davtyan, Minister of Economy of the Republic of Armenia, and Mr. Taleb Rifai, UNWTO Secretary-General


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Regional Seminar on Responsible Tourism: Opportunities for Women and Youth (Nigeria, June 2012)

Location

Calabar
Nigeria
4° 57' 0" N, 8° 19' 30" E
Approve event: 
No
26 June 2012
Location: 
4° 57' 0" N, 8° 19' 30" E

The UNWTO Regional Seminar on Responsible Tourism: Opportunities for Women and Youth, held in Calabar, Nigeria, on the 26th of June 2012, in conjunction with the 53rd UNWTO Regional Commission meeting for Africa, explored the ways in which the tourism sector can improve conditions for women and young persons throughout the region, and, in so doing, benefit the tourism trade at large, view towards enhancing tourism’s positive effects on the economic and social development of Africa. The Seminar gathered policy makers, representatives of the tourism industry, communities engaged in/interested in tourism development, women’s cooperatives, educational institutions, NGOs and civil society organisations.

A full list of participants is available in the event's Programme. A Report of the Seminar and the event's Final Conclusions may also be accessed at the links provided at the bottom of this page.

The principle objectives of the Seminar were to:

  • Raise awareness of the opportunities that tourism offers to women and youth through panel discussions in the context of capacity building, community development, entrepreneurship and leadership; 
  • Determine ways of overcoming obstacles to the empowerment and equality of women and youth in the tourism sector; and
  • Call for enhanced cooperation and coordination between governments, regional and international organizations, the private sector, and civil society actors, to tap the potential of women and youth in tourism.

Background information

One of the fastest growing and most dynamic spheres of the global economy, tourism is not only ideally poised to ensure prosperity, but also to promote women’s empowerment, gender equality, youth employment and children’s rights. Moreover, women and young persons are exceptionally well-placed to plan and establish tourism products based on the wealth of cultural heritage across Africa, whether in the form of handicrafts, folklore, dances, or gastronomy, towards inclusion in lucrative tourism value chains. Since more equal and diversified businesses and organisations produce better results in terms of productivity, sustainability and overall quality, the entire sector stands to profit from the active and equitable participation of women and youth.

To date, the tourism sector has played a significant role in empowering women politically, socially and economically. However, decisive action on behalf of both men and women, at all levels, remains vital in order to close the gender gap, particularly by ensuring equal pay for equal work, raising the quality of women’s employment and ending all forms of discrimination.

Similarly, while as an “entry point”, tourism offers young persons an excellent opportunity to enter the labour market, pressing challenges still remain. Special attention must be paid to improving the vulnerable situation in which young workers often find themselves, particularly due to issues of precarious work and the seasonality of the tourism sector, which may precipitate forms of exploitation.
 


Report of the Seminar (Download a pdf version here)

Opening

The seminar was opened by His Excellency Chief Edem Duke, who welcomed the participants and introduced UNWTO Secretary General Dr Taleb Rifai. Dr Rifai began by setting out how the concept of responsible tourism is complementary to sustainability, and goes beyond environmental aspects of tourism. Responsible tourism should improve people’s quality of life, particularly women’s lives, as women are the future of Africa. It is also important to be aware of the negative impacts that tourism can have on women and youth, for example when tourism infrastructure is used to facilitate the sexual exploitation of women and children. The Secretary General reiterated Executive Director of UN Women Michelle Bachelet’s support for tourism as a vehicle for the empowerment of women. He pointed out that tourism is not merely a business, but should improve quality of life for many people. Also, tourism is not just about large hotels and resorts – it includes small-scale tourism enterprises which are particularly relevant in the African context.

Introduction to seminar themes
UNWTO Consultant Dr Lucy Ferguson began by setting out the benefits of focussing on women and youth, both for the tourism sector and for African development. She highlighted in particular the widely acknowledged point that African tourism will only be sustainable if it addresses social and cultural factors and ensure the fair inclusion of women and youth. Next, Dr Ferguson outlined the African policy framework relevant to these issues in the tourism sector, such as the AU/NEPAD Tourism Action Plan, the AU Gender Policy and the AU Youth Charter. The presentation went on to outline the findings of the Global Report on Women in Tourism specific to Africa. Women make up a high proportion of workers in the sector, but earn on average 10% less than men and occupy only one third of all professional level positions. However, women are more likely to be own-account workers and employers in tourism in Africa than in other sectors. While the proportion of women tourism ministers is high, women leaders in other areas the sector are scarce. Women carry out a high amount of unpaid work in family tourism businesses which limits the potential for empowerment in the sector. Unfortunately, equivalent data on youth participation in African tourism is not currently available.

Dr Ferguson presented UNWTO’s three main activities in the area of women in tourism. The Second Global Report on Women in Tourism will offer a more comprehensive review of the participation and status of women in tourism. The terms of reference for the report are ready and work will start as soon as we secure the resources necessary to conduct this study. The Women in Tourism Empowerment Programme is made up for components: Employment Skills Training; Supply Chain; Advancement Programme; and Gender Training. UNWTO is currently seeking countries to serve as pilots for the first stage of the project and funding partners to collaborate on one or a combination of these components. The Gender Mainstreaming in Tourism Strategy is a broad over-arching programme which aims to provide NTAs with the necessary tools and guidelines for enhancing women’s participation in tourism, developed specifically for the tourism sector. Dr Ferguson concluded the presentation by setting out some of the possibilities for collaboration between UNWTO and African institutions on women and youth in tourism.

Panel 1: Forging women leaders in African tourism

This panel discussed the main opportunities for and barriers to women’s leadership in the tourism sector in Africa. Ms Rosalie Balima, Director of Tourism for Burkina Faso explained the ways in which cultural stereotypes that originate in communities can constrain women’s aspirations. Ms. Emuobo Ibru of Ikeja Hotels Nigeria pointed out that there are very few women in high level leadership positions in African tourism. Although many women attend seminars such as this one, men tend not to even though they are in the highest level posts. During the discussion, it was suggested that women’s leadership should be supported at all levels, paying particular attention to grassroots leadership in communities as this is where most African tourism products are based.

The panel then looked at the public sector, private sector and community level in order to explore these issues and proposed practical steps and activities that could be carried out in order to promote and support women’s leadership in the tourism sector. Ms. Ibru pointed out that there are a large number of women’s cooperatives and enterprises poised to take leadership in the tourism sector. However, women must be made aware of the opportunities available in the sector in order to be able to advance. There is also a need to promote favourable conditions for women’s access to finance. In terms of the public sector, there is a need to consider carefully the impact of tourism policies on women. Current policies tend to focus on support for large tourism businesses. However, the majority of opportunities for women are found in rural tourism and ecotourism.

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Panel 2: Strengthening entrepreneurship in Africa’s tourism sector

The second panel discussed the challenges involved in promoting entrepreneurship in the tourism sector. Ms. Nyanya Jagne, President of the Association of Small Scale Enterprises in Tourism, The Gambia highlighted market access in tourism as one of the most serious problems facing all entrepreneurs, including women and youth. Chief Sally Ukpo, Executive Director at Suffy Travels Ltd, Nigeria set out a number of challenges to growth for entrepreneurs in African tourism, such as a lack of infrastructure in terms of power and communications. Security issues and instability are also important, as they give a negative image to countries such as Nigeria. Those who want to be entrepreneurs in Nigeria have to deal with a broad range of organisations and face a wide range of obstacles, of which finance is a major issue. A point repeatedly raised in the discussions was the issue of access to land and property. As African women normally do not own land setting up a tourism enterprise is particularly challenging. Often, women entrepreneurs rely on rented land which affects the long terms stability and sustainability of their businesses.

The panel then explored what concrete measures need to be taken in order to support entrepreneurship by women and youth, and a number of suggestions were made. In terms of the public sector, governments should facilitate the application process for loans and business permits and simplify the bureaucratic procedures required by different institutions by centralising such processes. They should also consider tax incentives for tourism entrepreneurs and provide a framework for sustainable tourism policies at the national and regional level. Also important is the need for governments to develop bids for international donors in order to promote women entrepreneurs in tourism. In terms of the private sector, tourism companies need to introduce and comply with their own codes of conduct in order to ensure decent work and prevent any form of exploitation. At the community level, Chief Ukpo highlighted the need to promote cooperation between women entrepreneurs and the forming of associations in order to be able to create sustainable products and services for local and global markets. It was also suggested that in order to combat the volatility of tourism seasonality women and youth should be encouraged to combine handicraft production during the low season with the reception of tourists in the high season. In addition, there should be a gradual shift of emphasis from microenterprises to small and medium-sized enterprises for women and youth, as these are more likely to be profitable on a long-term basis.

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Panel 3: Capacity Building and community development

In the final panel, the discussion considered how capacity building in the tourism sector can benefit women and young people. The issue of quotas for women’s participation was discussed. For example, 40% of participants in GIZ projects must be women. However, this is not enough to ensure that a gender approach is mainstreamed and much more decisive actions are needed. Both Mr Akinropo Omoware of GIZ Nigeria and Mr Sina Adefolahan of the Women Consortium of Nigeria stressed the importance of wide-reaching gender training at all levels of the tourism sector – from ministerial to community level. The challenge of how to construct shared meaning on gender was raised, in order to ensure that local people are engaged in these projects. Several presenters outlined how the stereotyping of young people – particularly young men - hinders their opportunities for advancement in the tourism sector. Mr Adefolahan discussed the potential of tourism to combat human trafficking by working with women’s cooperatives, addressing the gender division of labour in the household and reducing the intergenerational cycle of poverty.

The panel also explored how women and young people can acquire skills to harness their intangible cultural heritage assets through tourism development. Ms. Laetitia Yei Adou of the Tourism Division of West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) discussed how UEMOA’s common tourism policy incorporates intangible cultural heritage and funds young entrepreneurs to access training in activities such as handicrafts through microcredit schemes. Mr Adefolahan pointed out that intangible cultural heritage has to be accepted and taken on by young people – it is not something that can be identified or imposed from above or outside. The panel discussion concluded with a reflection on how increased capacity building for women and young people can benefit the tourism sector as a whole. Mr Munzali Dantata of the National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism, Nigeria explained that women and young people have to be well trained in order to be able to take advantage of the opportunities presented by tourism. He argued that the sector could benefit significantly from more systematic and formalised education and training. Mr Omoware and Mr Sina Adefolahan stressed the importance of including young people in decision-making in the tourism sector. When young people feel ownership for projects through meaningful participation the results are more likely to be positive and enhance the overall sustainability of the sector.

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Conclusions and recommendations

In the concluding comments, Dr Lucy Ferguson outlined the key challenges and opportunities that were identified during the seminar. In terms of challenges, she first noted the lack of systematic information on women and youth in the tourism sector. She went on to identify some of the barriers to participation and leadership by women and youth in the sector, such as: the lack of equal opportunities in employment markets; women’s economic literacy; barriers to inclusion into tourism supply chains; lack of vocational training opportunities; and cultural stereotyping of women and young men. In terms of leadership, cultural stereotypes that originate in communities can constrain women’s aspirations. Moreover, there is often a gap between women’s ambitions for leadership in the sector and the level of training, capacity building and overall knowledge of tourism. The presentation then highlighted some of the opportunities for the sector in focussing on women and youth, such as a supportive and complementary African policy framework, the importance of grassroots leadership programmes at the community level, and the significant potential of intangible cultural heritage for involving young people and women in a proactive way in the tourism sector.

Three broad sets of recommendations were given. In terms of information, the recommendations focussed on the need for more systematic data collection, the sharing of best practices and the establishment of an African Network of Women in Tourism, to be facilitated by UNWTO. The recommendations for economic empowerment involve promoting economic literary programmes, support for cooperatives and widespread vocational training and skills development for women and youth. In terms of institutional aspects, Dr Ferguson identified a need to forge cooperation between the tourism private sector and women’s and youth organisations and the importance of gender training across all sectors. She then set out a number of suggestions for collaboration between UNWTO, NTAs, private sector actors and NGOs on these issues, focussing specifically on an Empowerment Programme for Women and Youth in African Tourism. The presentation concluded with a call to ensure that Africa is at the forefront of the contribution of the tourism sector to global development.

Closing ceremony

Mr Frédéric Pierret, UNWTO Executive Director for Programme and Coordination, reinforced UNWTO’s commitment to gender equality and women’s rights, stating that these are fundamental components of responsible and sustainable tourism. The seminar was closed by Chief Duke, who thanked all the participants and expressed a desire to work together on these issues.


Final Conclusions of the Seminar (Download a pdf version here)

These conclusions set out the key challenges and opportunities that were identified during the seminar. They also provide general recommendations and suggest specific steps for moving in this area.

Challenges

There are three main challenges for the fair inclusion of women and youth in the African tourism sector.

First, we lack systematic information on women and youth in the tourism sector. While we have some preliminary data on women’s participation from the Global Report, we are still short of detailed studies and current data. Moreover, while we have general data on youth labour market participation and unemployment, we are missing any substantive data on youth in tourism. As identified by the presenters, there is also a gap between available funding opportunities and the capacity of women and youth to access information on these.

Second, there are some strong barriers to women and youth participation in the sector. For women, there are both participation and leadership barriers. Women’s participation in the tourism sector is limited by the lack of equal opportunities in employment markets, shortcomings in women’s economic literacy, challenges in forming profitable and sustainable cooperatives, and lack of inclusion into tourism supply chains. Women’s leadership can be constrained by cultural stereotypes that originate in communities that limit women’s aspirations. There is also often a gap between women’s ambitions for leadership in the sector and the level of training, capacity building and overall knowledge of tourism. The issue of land is also important to highlight, as African women are not usually the title holders of land and property, making it difficult to guarantee long term stability and sustainability of women’s tourism businesses. Youth also face barriers to full participation in the tourism sector. Many of the issues are the same – in particular in terms of cultural stereotyping - but the need for appropriate vocational training and skills development training are particularly pertinent in the African youth context.

Third, the high proportion of contributing family workers is an issue to be addressed. As highlighted in the ILO’s Global Trends for Youth report, a large proportion of young people are performing unpaid work in family businesses. We know that for women, there are more contributing family workers in tourism than in other sectors, in Africa and in most world regions. We need to look in more detail about how women and youth’s status as contributing family workers may be limiting their fair inclusion into the tourism sector.

Opportunities

As well as a number of challenges, the opportunities for women and youth in the tourism sector are significant. Women already make up the majority of workers in the hotel and restaurant sector and are more likely to be employers, own-account workers and ministers in this sector than in other sectors. At the same time, an average of 2.1 million young people will be entering the labour market in sub Saharan Africa between 2012 and 2015.

The tourism private sector is poised to harness the significant potential of women and youth and to stem youth migration from rural to urban areas, both for the sustainability of the sector and African development as a whole. In addition to this potential, a complementary African policy framework is in place to support these goals. The Africa Action Plan, Tourism Action Plan, Gender Policy and Youth Charter all affirm their strong commitment to the fair inclusion of women and youth in Africa’s economic development. The seminar identified a number of opportunities each thematic area.

In leadership, women and youth leadership should be considered at all levels starting with the community level, developing grassroots leadership programmes and working upwards from there. In entrepreneurship, a suggestion was made to combat the volatility of tourism seasonality – by encouraging handicraft production during the low season with the reception of tourists in the high season. In capacity building, an interesting case was mentioned in Botswana of the training levy for tourism which is systematically included in tourism pricing, establishing a fund to ensure resources are generated for this area. Intangible cultural heritage also offers significant opportunities for women and young people, and we need to think about how to involve young people in a positive and empowered way in this process.

General Recommendations

Information

  • Collect data and information in the form of statistics and qualitative research such as interview and in-depth case studies – particularly important in the area of youth as we simply do not have the necessary information to proceed in this area
  • Identify more best practices, including in-depth engagement with potential best practices to see what works and why
  • Create an African Network of Women in Tourism in order to share best practices and provide support to women’s business
  • Establish a focal point for information on funding activities and facilitate the dissemination of these opportunities among women and young people

Economic empowerment

  • Promote economic literacy programmes for women and youth
  • Support women’s and youth cooperatives
  • Conduct interventions to overcome the constraints to the entry of women’s cooperatives in tourism supply chains
  • Provide training to access funding and use this in an optimal way in order to produce long term and sustainable results
  • Promote a gradual shift from microenterprises to small and medium-sized enterprises for women and youth in order to ensure greater profitability in the long-term
  • Secure women’s access to land, credit and property to promote the sustainability of women’s tourism businesses

Institutional aspects

  • Forge cooperation between tourism private sector and women and youth organisations
  • Work together to eliminate barriers to women and youth’s fair and sustainable inclusion
  • Develop gender training across all levels in order to work on these issues
  • Include women and youth as active participants in the formulation of policy and projects
  • Encourage tourism companies to introduce and comply with their own codes of conduct in order to ensure decent work and prevent any form of exploitative practices in the tourism sector

Moving forward and next steps

This seminar should help to set in motion a combination of macro (gender mainstreaming strategy, national policies and coordination by UNWTO, WITEP pilot programme) and micro (specific policies, programmes and projects, for example collaboration on one or more components of WITEP) activities. A focal point/means of communication should be established – a Gender and Tourism Portal could be a potential tool for this, as well as the proposed African Network of Women in Tourism. In addition to the practical aspects of collaboration, it wilI be helpful to consider the different priority areas in current funding streams which might offering opportunities: for example, MDG3, women’s economic empowerment, decent work, vocational training and youth participation. New funding streams will also open up as the development policy agenda is reformulated post-2015, presenting an opportunity to ensure that Africa is at the forefront of the contribution of the tourism sector to global development.

Based on the overall conclusions of the presentations and debates of the seminar, it is evident that NTAs need substantive assistance in order to promote the fair inclusion of women and youth in African tourism. UNWTO should provide ongoing technical support and establish itself as a reference point for communication, exchange and information in this area.

Proposal for Collaboration

Based on these conclusions, UNWTO recommends the development of an Empowerment Programme for African Women and Youth in Tourism. This will be a regional level project developed with the support of UNWTO’s Commission for Africa and the Ethics and Social Dimensions of Tourism Programme. Based on the blueprint for the UNWTO Women in Tourism Empowerment Programme, this will be further developed by drawing on the specific challenges and opportunities presented in African countries, as highlighted by the Calabar seminar. A draft proposal will be drawn up by UNWTO in collaboration with the Commission for Africa in order to be presented to bilateral or multilateral donors.


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This is a main event

2nd International Congress on Ethics and Tourism

Location

Quito
Ecuador
0° 13' 0.0012" S, 78° 31' 0.0012" W
Approve event: 
No
11 September 2012 - 12 September 2012
Location: 
0° 13' 0.0012" S, 78° 31' 0.0012" W

The 2nd International Congress on Ethics and Tourism, jointly organized by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the Ministry of Tourism of Ecuador, took place in the Ecuadorian capital, Quito, on the 11th and 12th of September 2012. (Please click here for the Programme in English or Spanish)

H.E. Mr. Freddy Ehlers, Minister of Tourism Ecuador (right) and UNWTO Secretary-General, Mr. Taleb Rifai

Following in the footsteps of the 1st International Congress on Ethics and Tourism (held in Madrid, Spain, in September 2011), the event sought to promote responsible, sustainable and fair tourism development at the global level, for the benefit of all sectors of society, and within the universally accepted reference framework that is the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism of the UNWTO, endorsed by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 2001.

Pictured below: Ms. Cristina Suaña, Congress Panellist and
President of the Asociación de Turismo Vivencial Uros Khantati, Peru

 

Within this ethical framework for tourism, the 2nd International Congress supported and disseminated the concept of Conscious Tourism - insightfully promoted by the Ministry of Tourism of Ecuador. 

 

The concept of Concious Tourism constitutes innovative thinking based on the same principles of sustainability and ethics promoting the values of peace, friendship, respect, and love for life as the essence of the practice of tourism.

Ms. Anna Pollock, Founder of the "Concious Travel" Movement and Congress participant

With over 350 participants from nearly 40 countries in attendance, representing governments and national and local authorities, international organizations and NGOs, the business sector and education and training institutions, the event discussed the opportunities and challenges  facing responsible tourism development today.

In-depth discussions particularly focused on specific issues related to environmental sustainability, the protection and respect of human rights (especially the rights of women, children and indigenous peoples), social inclusion, universal accessibility and tourism for all (focused above all on persons with disabilities or reduced mobility and the elderly) and the role played by the private sector to ensure the sustainability of tourism and corporate social responsibility.

Signature of the Private Sector Commitment to the Code of Ethics (individuals pictured from left to right): Mr. Marcio Favilla, UNWTO Executive Director; Mr. Enrique Ponce de Leon, Director-General of Hoteles Decameron Ecuador; H.E. Mr. Freddy Ehlers, Minister of Tourism of Ecuador; Ms. Liliana Vasquez, President of FIASEET; FIASEET; Mr. Taleb Rifai, UNWTO Secretary-General; and Mr. Carlos Garcia Santos, President of Destino Punta del Este (Uruguay) at the 2nd International Congress on Ethics and Tourism (September 2012, Quito)

In the context of the 2nd Congress three prominent private sector stakeholders formally signed the Private Sector Commitment to the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism of the UNWTO. These signatory entities were:  Destino Punta del Este (Uruguay), FIASEET (Federación Internacional de Asociaciones de Ejecutivas de Empresas Turísticas) and Hoteles Decameron Ecuador.

Events celebrating Ecuador's rich cultural heritage on the occasion of the Congress


Presentations by Panellists

Opening

1st Session: Conscious Tourism for a new era

2nd Session: An ethical framework for Responsible Tourism

3rd Session: Tourism as a driver for Human Rights and Social Inclusion

4th Session: Accessible Tourism

5th Session: The Commitment of the Private Sector


Relevant Materials

See also:

Category
Event type: 
Conference
Related to: 
Americas
Regional Programme
Global Code of Ethics for Tourism
Ethics & Social Responsibility Programme
Programme
UNWTO
Event or Session: 
This is a main event