MoT finalises code of conduct for Safe and Honourable Tourism

03 February 2010

HBI Staff, Mumbai:
The Ministry of Tourism (MoT) has finalised a code of conduct for ‘Safe and Honourable Tourism’ to be adopted by major stakeholders like hotels, tour operators, cab drivers and other hospitality-linked services. The code is likely to be unveiled on March 8, 2010 to commemorate International Women's Day.
The code will entail adopting guidelines that will ensure ethical business practices protecting women and children. This includes training of personnel, awareness drives, ethical marketing and business practices and regulation of usage of official equipment to prevent human trafficking and pornography. According to a report in Times of India, certain sources from MoT said that Kumari Selja, Union Minister for Tourism was keen that an action plan could be drawn up to put the code in place as early as possible. MoT has conducted consultations with industry bodies like Pacific Aviation Travel Association (PATA) and organisations like United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime and Equitable Tourism Option (EQUATIONS) on the issue.
With this in mind, the specific guidelines that are being considered include training of personnel to recognise and report sex-related crimes, regulations on usage of hotel and business equipment (that can be misused for pornography) and guest and staff notification through brochures, home pages and in-room information. Stakeholders will have to commit on not using images and concepts that sexually exploit children for marketing and put in place penalties like contract termination with companies who are found indulging in unethical business practices.
Tour operators will be expected to provide information on Child Sex Tourism through travel agencies, catalogues, advertisements and brochures with tickets, while airlines are also stipulated to ensure that awareness campaigns are conducted through in-flight magazines, internet links and videos on long-haul destinations.
Indian tourism industry has been outperforming global tourism industry in terms of volume of international tourists and revenue. The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has named India as one of the fastest growing tourism destinations in the next ten years. However, there are increasing signs that this growth in travel is not without its negative aspects.