Workshop on the Protection of Tourists/Consumers and Travel Organizers

Workshop on the Protection of Tourists/Consumers and Travel Organizers
Preparing for a UNWTO international convention
Berlin, ITB – 9 March 2011


9 March 2011

ITB Berlin, Palais West, North Entrance (through Pavilion 19)

Current phenomena, such as the rapid development of outgoing tourism in Latin America, Africa and Asia, or the increasing number of events hindering tourism activities, whether man-made or otherwise, call for an international regulatory instrument for operations specific to the tourism sector, pertaining to all relevant stakeholders worldwide and clarifying their responsibilities.

The sector is facing an insufficiency of global binding rules governing the rights and responsibilities of tourists/consumers and tour operators, in spite of the recommendations outlined in the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism (GCET) in 1999. As such, the World Tourism Organization is considering the drafting of an international convention to assure the protection of both tourists/consumers and tourism professionals.

On 26 October 2010, the UNWTO Executive Council approved a proposal to start preparations for the aforementioned legal instrument and decided to create a working group to define the scope of the document. Taking into account the international norms already in place, the future convention will focus on the rights and obligations of each party in contractual agreements, particularly in contracts regarding package tours and accommodation.

The first Workshop on the Protection of Tourists/Consumers and Travel Organizers will enable the preliminary discussion of issues likely to be tackled within the convention, such as the above mentioned contracts related to the tourism sector, as well as the nature and extent of information provided to consumers therein (prior to the conclusion of the contract and travel and in the case of last-minute bookings). Other issues will include the form and content (minimal clauses), of supporting documents, management methods (related to termination conditions and contract revisions - particularly in the case of price and rescission), the extent of professionals’ responsibility, the assistance owed to consumers (notably in the case of events of force majeure) and, guarantees for tourists (in the case of bankruptcy or insolvency of the tour operator or vendors).