As a fundamental frame of reference for responsible and sustainable tourism, the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism (GCET) is a comprehensive set of principles designed to guide key-players in tourism development. Addressed to governments, the travel industry, communities and tourists alike, it aims to help maximize the sector’s benefits while minimizing its potentially negative impact on the environment, cultural heritage and societies across the globe.
Adopted in 1999 by the General Assembly of the World Tourism Organization, its acknowledgement by the United Nations two years later expressly encouraged UNWTO to promote the effective follow-up of its provisions. Although not legally binding, the Code features a voluntary implementation mechanism through its recognition of the role of the World Committee on Tourism Ethics (WCTE), to which stakeholders may refer matters concerning the application and interpretation of the document.
The Code’s 10 principles amply cover the economic, social, cultural and environmental components of travel and tourism:
Article 1: Tourism’s contribution to mutual understanding and respect between peoples and societies
Article 2: Tourism as a vehicle for individual and collective fulfillment
Article 3: Tourism, a factor of sustainable development
Article 4: Tourism, a user of the cultural heritage of mankind and contributor to its enhancement
Article 5: Tourism, a beneficial activity for host countries and communities
Article 6: Obligations of stakeholders in tourism development
Article 7: Right to tourism
Article 8: Liberty of tourist movements
Article 9: Rights of the workers and entrepreneurs in the tourism industry
Article 10: Implementation of the principles of the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism