RESTARTING TOURISM IN INDIA WITH CHILD PROTECTION IN FOCUS
VIRTUAL LAUNCH OF THE CODE E-LEARNING MATERIALS
In India, Tourism industry has very consciously realized its negative impact and hence the new tourism policy 10 June 2021 has the over-arching goal of sustainable and responsible tourism. Sustainable and responsible tourism ensure that there are no adverse social, cultural and environmental impacts on the tourism locations [https://travel.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/tourism/experiential/r…].
In this pandemic situation, there has been a great deal of resolve within the sector to mainstream sustainability in tourism. It’s time now, to reflect on inclusive and sustainable development in India, where the travel and tourism industry has been the most affected[ According to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) estimates, up to 100 million jobs are at immediate risk in the travel and tourism industry due to the pandemic. Asia-Pacific is expected to be the most heavily impacted, with Latin America coming in second, read more at www.wttc.org.
As India responds to the pandemic, push factors that facilitate or lead to violence in general, including the sexual exploitation of children both online and offline are intensifying, or are expected to increase. The urgent need is to ensure that child protection forms an integral part of the sustainable, responsible, ethical and resilient tourism discourses. This can only be achieved if the key stakeholders and primarily tourism industry, tourism associations, tourists themselves come together to enable themselves with knowledge and expertise to prevent, mitigate, and remediate risks to child protection.
Recognising the importance of having a code of ethics to promote sustainable and responsible tourism, ECPAT Sweden in collaboration with Scandinavian tour operators and the UNWTO introduced The Code in 1998 by. The Code (short for “The Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation in Travel and Tourism”) is a multi-stakeholder initiative with the mission to provide awareness, tools and support to the tourism industry to prevent the sexual exploitation of children.
In 2010, the Indian Ministry of Tourism, in collaboration with the UNODC, PATA, Save the children and EQUATIONS, have developed a ‘Code of Conduct for Safe and Honourable Tourism’ that ensures that all tourism service providers who are recognised and registered by the MoT should implement this code. One section of the Safe and Honourable Tourism Code highlights the need for developing a child protection policy, its implementation, need for staff to receive training on child protection issues, and to put systems and mechanisms in place to address child sexual exploitation in travel and tourism.
To ensure that child protection forms part of the rethinking tourism discourse and to enable tourism practitioners, planers and policy makers with expertise, skills and capacity to address child protection in Travel and Tourism, Equitable tourism options – EQUATIONS (Local Code Representative – The Code) and ECPAT – International has planned for the virtual launch of the e-learning training materials, focusing on varied tourism stakeholders in Hindi and English on 25 June 2021 at 11:00 am.
About The Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation in Travel and Tourism
The Code has been acknowledged by various United Nations organisations as a good practice example of tourism private sector and non-governmental organisations collaboration to combat exploitation of children. A number of governments and organisations have incorporated The Code into overarching policy. Membership of The Code is a requirement of achieving fair trade tourism status in South Africa and acquiring TourCert certification in Europe. The government of Costa Rica has integrated The Code into the Costa Rican Tourism Institute’s Certification in Sustainable Tourism program. Several national tourism ministries are also active in promoting The Code as a responsible tourism initiative in their countries [Adopted from www.thecode.org]. For more information refer www.thecode.org
To disseminate the new e-learnings of The Code in India, available in Hindi and English
To raise awareness of the travel companies on The Code and the available e-learning material that can help in sensitizing the staff on the prevention of sexual exploitation of children, as part of the company’s commitment of zero tolerance policy to this crime.
Key discussion questions during the e-launch
·How will the companies continue to engage in child protection, considering that the travel and tourism sector has been the hardest hit by the COVID-19 crisis itself?
·What actions are there and need to be taken by the tourism industry to create an environment to effectively protect children’s rights?
·What support do you need from civil society and government and what new approaches are to be considered during the recovery phase for the industry?
·Enhanced knowledge of tourism industry enabling them to take informed decision to form part of The CODE membership
Suggested format of the webinar
Read the report and watch the recording here