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UNWTO Global Code of Ethics for Tourism (1999)


The Global Code of Ethics for Tourism was adopted by resolution A/RES/406(XIII) at the thirteenth WTO General Assembly (Santiago, Chile, 27 September - 1 October 1999).

The Code makes reference to combatting discrimination and refers to the promotion of tourism for people with disablilities.

The Global Code of Ethics for Tourism (GCET) is a comprehensive set of principles whose purpose is to guide stakeholders in tourism development: central and local governments, local communities, the tourism industry and its professionals, as well as visitors, both international and domestic.

The Code was called for in a resolution of the UNWTO General Assembly meeting in Istanbul in 1997. Over the following two years, a special committee for the preparation of the Global Code of Ethics was formed and a draft document was prepared by the Secretary-General and the legal adviser to UNWTO in consultation with UNWTO Business Council, UNWTO's Regional Commissions, and the UNWTO Executive Council.

The United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development meeting in New York in April, 1999 endorsed the concept of the Code and requested UNWTO to seek further input from the private sector, non-governmental organizations and labour organizations. Written comments on the code were received from more than 70 UNWTO Member States and other entities. The resulting 10 point Global Code of Ethics for Tourism - the culmination of an extensive consultative process- was approved unanimously by the UNWTO General Assembly meeting in Santiago in October 1999.

The United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), in its substantive session of July 2001, adopted a draft resolution on the Code of Ethics and called on the UN General Assembly to give recognition to the Code. The official recognition by the UN General Assembly to the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism came on 21 December 2001, through its resolution A/RES/56/212, by which it further encouraged the World Tourism Organization to promote an effective follow-up of the Code.

"The Global Code of Ethics for Tourism sets a frame of reference for the responsible and sustainable development of world tourism. It draws inspiration from many similar declarations and industry codes that have come before and it adds new thinking that reflects our changing society at the beginning of the 21st century.

With international tourism forecast to nearly triple in volume over the next 20 years, members of the World Tourism Organization believe that the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism is needed to help minimize the negative impacts of tourism on the environment and on cultural heritage while maximizing the benefits for residents of tourism destinations.

The Global Code of Ethics for Tourism is intended to be a living document. Read it. Circulate it widely. Participate in its implementation. Only with your cooperation can we safeguard the future of the tourism industry and expand the sector's contribution to economic prosperity, peace and understanding among all the nations of the world."

- Francesco Frangialli, Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization

Although it is not a legally binding document, its Article 10 provides for a voluntary implementation mechanism through the recognition of the role of the World Committee on Tourism Ethics (WCTE), to which stakeholders may refer, on a voluntary basis, any matters concerning the application and interpretation of the Code.

The Code is available in many languages at the UNWTO Website

General Information

Submitted by: Ivor Ambrose
Author(s): UNWTO
Language(s): EN | ES | FR


Publisher: UN World Tourism Organisation
Date published on the web: 01/10/1999


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