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World Tourism Organization: The importance of ethics and social responsibility

World Tourism Organization: The importance of ethics and social responsibility

In 2015, the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the United Nations Global Compact Initiative Spain joined forces in a project titled “Responsible tourism, a global commitment” that engaged 13 Spanish tourism entities.

The aim of the project has been for tourism companies and trade associations to promote a tangible and lasting commitment to the ethical principles of responsible and sustainable tourism through their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities. The project has emphasized how these CSR actions can contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) approved by the United Nations in September 2015.

In September 2016, a microsite featuring inspirational material on responsible tourism initiatives was launched under the overall coordination of UNWTO and Global Compact Spain. The site collects and shares the positive experiences and good practices of the participating companies that have emerged throughout the project.

The official launch of the microsite took place at the event “The tourism sector and the SDGs. Responsible tourism, a global commitment.”

The project was presented for the first time in January 2016 at the FITUR Tourism Fair under the title “Spanish companies driving responsible tourism.” During the event, the participating companies publicly signed the Private Sector Commitment to the UWNTO Global Code of Ethics for Tourism and took part in a debate about the challenges, strategies and tools to achieve a responsible and sustainable tourism sector by engaging in the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

With globalization, growing mobility and competitiveness, the safeguarding of human rights and respect for the environment and society in the way of doing business have suffered in many industrial sectors, including tourism. One way of addressing the negative impacts of business has been through voluntary commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR).

CSR involves business practices aimed at increasing revenues while benefiting the local communities in which companies operate, contributing to a lasting, sustainable and more competitive business model.

To leverage transparent and responsible business practices, the UNWTO Secretariat initiated in 2011 a campaign geared towards the private sector by inviting tourism enterprises and their trade associations to adhere to the Private Sector Commitment to the UNWTO Global Code of Ethics for Tourism.

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