On 6 March, The Code, ECPAT International and the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) signed a ‘memorandum of understanding’ at ITB Berlin. The partnership will expand standards for the protection of children as well as other measures to end this crime, with GSTC encouraging membership of The Code as a practical means of implementing child protection standards in order to meet global accreditation.
The Code also encourages its members to adhere to the standards of GSTC to further embed sustainable and ethical practices.
The GSTC is the global accreditation body for sustainable certifying hotels/accommodations, tour operators, and destinations – and ensuring that they have sustainable policies and practices in place. They work with the travel and tourism industry to develop guidelines and industry criteria for businesses ensure their practices contribute to sustainable tourism and development.
GSTC is currently reviewing its performance indicators under ‘destinations’ and ECPAT International has helped review criteria related to minimizing negative impacts by preventing the sexual exploitation of children in the travel and tourism industry.
The GSTC Criteria include social elements, and we are pleased to engage ECPAT International and The Code in their ongoing development and implementation of child protection measuressaid Randy Durband, CEO of GSTC
According to the GSTC, these criteria are the guiding principles and minimum requirements that any travel and tourism business or destination should aspire to in order to protect and sustain the world’s natural and cultural resources, while also ensuring that tourism meets its potential as a tool for conservation and poverty alleviation.
The Code is very pleased to see further integration of criteria and measures for the protection of children in the standards of GSTC as this will have a widespread impact on the global tourism industry taking steps collectively to protect children in travel and tourismElise Allart, The Code Board, TUI Group
The travel and tourism industry has grown exponentially of the last several decades as once remote locations have opened up to international visitors, but research from ECPAT’s Global Study has shown that at alongside this, the sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism has also drastically increased.
As the industry grows it is vital that adequate child protection measures are strengthened to match this growth and end the impunity of offenders.