The new international code, already backed by the Committee for the Development of an International Code for the Protection of Tourists (made up of 92 UNWTO Member States), is part of a concrete plan of action to restore tourists’ confidence through a common and harmonised framework. Already, UNWTO has published the Recommendations for the Assistance to International Tourists in Emergency Situations, which include:
- Preventing possible disruptions by drawing up contingency plans and co-ordination protocols and training tourism stakeholders to assist tourists in emergency situations
- Providing real-time information for tourists
- Addressing cross-border co-operation between governments and tourism service providers
- Fostering close collaboration between governments and travel and accommodation providers
- Addressing the effective repatriation of tourists
The biggest barriers to restarting tourism
“Uncertainty and a lack of trust in travel are among the biggest challenges we face as we work to restart tourism,” UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said. “An International Code for the Protection of Tourists will be a landmark step towards addressing this. Establishing a standard set of minimum consumer protection standards for tourists will help make people feel safer and more confident in international travel. And it will also ensure that the responsibility of managing the disruptions caused by this pandemic is shared fairly across the whole of our sector.”
More countries awarded Safe Travels stamp
Elsewhere, and forming another initiative that is helping to rebuild traveller confidence during these challenging times, more countries have adopted the World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC) Safe Travels stamp.
Iceland, Argentina, Kazakhstan, Colombia and Turks and Caicos are the latest major destinations to adopt the Safe Travels stamp, which is now being used by over 145 worldwide destinations.
Commenting on their adoption of the stamp, Skarphedinn Berg Steinarsson, Director General, Icelandic Tourist Board, said: “As the tourism industry starts to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic and people feel like travelling again, it is important that tourism companies are ready to welcome their guests and customers in a safe and responsible way. Global collaboration with harmonised guidelines is vital and help us in achieving this goal, as to restore the public’s confidence in the tourism sector for future travel.”