Training and capacity building

Human rights issues in tourism are broad and take many forms. Regular training and capacity building activities are key for ensuring that human rights are respected. 

Based on the main human rights risks identified (see value chain risk assessment on this website), training and capacity building activities should be organised with relevant internal and external actors. This includes training addressed at all employees (e.g. on the company commitment to human rights) and other capacity building activities targeted at different functions (see examples in the tab below).

For human rights risks identified in the destinations and specific value chain elements, targeted training should be organised in order to address the potential human rights issues (see examples in the tab below). Many companies decide to collaborate with industry peers to organise capacity building in the destinations (see measure card on Sector collaboration for more information).

To get an idea of how specific human rights-related issues can be addressed in training, see examples of issue-specific training materials in the tabs below.

⇒ Click here to identify your value chain-related human rights risks

Staff training
Capacity building with business partners
Issue-specific training
Human rights due diligence
Staff training

Conduct basic training on relevant human rights topics (see value chain risk analysis on this website) with all employees. This could be in the form of:

  • Induction training
  • Town hall meetings
  • Regular team updates
  • E-learning
  • Classroom training
  • Etc.

In addition, develop more in-depth issue-specific training for relevant functions such as:

  • human resources department (e.g. on working conditions, discrimination, diversity and inclusion)
  • sales staff (e.g. on accessibility and data privacy/GDPR compliance)
  • procurement staff (e.g. working conditions in hotels, on cruises, in souvenir sales and production and how these can be addressed when interacting with suppliers)

Examples

General human rights approach: 

  • To support in-house human rights education, free online training (only in German) is available on the Roundtable Human Rights in Tourism's website to professionals from tourism companies, especially tour operators.

Modern Slavery: 

  • Hilton Worldwide Holdings has developed an online training in collaboration with the International Tourism Partnership ITP. The publicly available online training module made by and for the hotel industry is designed to help hospitality companies improve awareness of modern slavery risks in their key services.
  • Marriott International has trained 500.000 hotel workers to recognize the signs of human trafficking.

Diversity & Inclusion:

  • Air Canada prides itself on an inclusive approach and dedication to providing accessible travel experiences for all. Building on this goal, the airline has developed an accessibility training program. It was specifically designed to raise awareness among employees, detect potential accessibility barriers and support in providing an inclusive service. To improve the learning experience and live up to their inclusive approach, Air Canada invited individuals with lived experience of disability to share their stories and get involved in the training. The training program is completed by all customer-facing employees and any management involved in decision-making or working in a policy or procedure setting.
  • Following a similar approach, Scandic offers an accessibility training to train their staff in making their hotels more accessible. 
  • The nonprofit Travel Unity offers a professional development and certification program preparing participants to understand and apply diversity, equity, and inclusion within the travel industry. The Travel Unity Individual Certificate (TUIC) is designed for travel professionals and can be customized with additional modules around general workforce readiness, customer service basics and cultural exchange. Travel Unity focuses on increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion in the travel industry through individual and community empowerment. The cultural competence workshops and trainings include the topics of LGBTQI* inclusivity, race/ethnicity and accessibility/disability. In addition to support in self-assessments and individual certificates, Travel Unity also provides organizational certification.
  • Visit Baltimore launched their Diversity Apprenticeship program which is a paid apprenticeship offering a three-part immersive learning experience. Expanding career pathways to more diverse candidates and nurturing emerging leaders from underrepresented communities is an important part of their allyship work and serves their overall goal of bringing more people of color into the travel industry. 
  • Expedia Group used an employee-led Inclusion & Diversity Analytics Hackathon to spotlight the topic and drive change within its organization. The two-day hackathon brought together different teams and individuals from within Expedia Group to drive positive, proactive and practical action to improve the diversity and inclusion footprint internally and for its customers. Going beyond topics related to company policies and workforce, diversity and inclusion is a broad theme. In order to use data and logic to answer business questions, discover relationships and automate decisions, the hackathon focused on areas related to LGBTQI* inclusivity, accessibility for people with disabilities, race, gender and education. Topics included everything from inclusivity scores of properties to demographically underserved travel options to hiring and diversity of workforce. While a D&I-focused hackathon can be replicated by other businesses, it's also a great way to get people from different backgrounds together to join forces, think outside the box and develop innovative ideas.
  • The nonprofit organization Elevate Aviation is developing Aviation Readiness Courses to support gender equality in the aviation industry.  Their courses aim at empowering women who are entering the industry through online training courses and hands-on training for entry-level positions in the aviation.
  • G Adventures along with their nonprofit Planeterra Foundation is implementing several programs supporting women in the travel industry. For example, in New Delhi there's a program called Women On Wheels, providing training for women to become professional drivers. The training includes self-defense and first aid and helps women to feel confident in themselves.  

Resources

  • The Travel Foundation hosts an online training platform for stakeholders across the travel industry – governments, tour operators, travel agents and travel associations. 
  • The «Do No Harm toolkit» by CDA Collaborative Learning Projects (CDA) has been developed for businesses, not-for-profit and government organisations that directly or indirectly supply goods or services to the tourism, travel and hospitality industries.
  • International pan-disability charity Leonard Cheshire and Expedia Group, one of the world’s largest online travel agencies, have worked together to create a roadmap for the travel industry to be more inclusive. 'Breaking Down Barriers to Travel' calls on the travel industry to be more inclusive of people with disabilities and recommends four approaches to take action. 
Capacity building with business partners

Organise destination- and/or issue-specific capacity building activities (see value chain risk assessment):

  • Organise destination specific capacity building activities (maybe in cooperation with other companies, various hotels or tour operators) for local stakeholders (such as administration, authorities, national park administrators, owners of guest houses & restaurants, etc.)
  • Offer training for tour guides
  • Conduct trainings with selected business partners and their staff where human rights risks have been identified (see value chain risk assessment), such as:
    • Transport service providers (e.g. on human trafficking and drivers working conditions)
    • Locally owned hotels & guesthouses
    • Excursion providers

Examples

Diversity & Inclusion:

  • Makingtrax provides and supports adaptive adventure opportunities for travelers with disabilities and offers training and consultancy to adventure operators in New Zealand. Supporting adventure tour operators in making their travel experiences more inclusive, Makingtrax developed the 'Trax Seal' - a benchmark of inclusive tourism and adaptive adventure travel.
  • The Institute for Tourism and Development organizes "Intercultural Tour Guide Qualification" seminars designed for tour operators, travel agents, public institutions of the tourism sector or tour guide associations interested in improving the competencies of their tour guides. Local tour guides play an important role in facilitating encounters at eye level and enabling intercultural learning. The quality of tour guiding services plays a decisive role in shaping what travelers notice, experience and learn. Communicating tactfully and building bridges between cultures can reduce barriers, enhance the travel experience and support diversity and inclusion in tourism. 
  • Visit Baltimore, the official destination sales and marketing organization for Baltimore, offers Diversity, Equity and Inclusion training for Baltimore hospitality and tourism leaders. The training sessions focus on improving workforce diversity, creating an inclusive workplace, assessing intercultural competence and facilitate truthful and courageous conversation. Moreover, they aim at increasing awareness of systemic racism, unconscious bias and inclusive behaviours and provide an action-planning framework. To assist and support minority and women-owned businesses, Visit Baltimore offers complimentary benefits. Their Diversity Initiative also provides access to educational sessions. 
  • Accessible Travel Solutions is devoted to expanding opportunities for disabled and senior travelers and partnered with Silversea Cruises to support the cruise line in offering accessible excursions
  • The non-profit organization Equality in Tourism is working to promote gender equality in the travel industry. They promote knowledge exchange, networking, research and the development of pilot projects that can be replicated in different settings. Through capacity building initiatives, policy development and consultancy services they support businesses in promoting gender equality within their companies and workplaces.  

Resources

Issue-specific training

For salient human rights issues, define the relevant target groups to participate in issue-specific capacity building activities (see value chain risk assessment on this site).

Examples of issue-specific trainings:

  • Volunteering: Conduct mandatory preparatory training related to assigned projects as well as on local customs in destination countries and around children's rights before people volunteer.
  • Modern slavery & forced labour: Conduct training on how to identify human trafficking, sexual exploitation of children (SECTT) and forced labour, and how to respond to potential incidents. Training should be adapted to the specific business environment.
  • Diversity & Inclusion: Conduct training on advancing accessibility, being culturally sensitive and supporting an inclusive work environment and travel experience for all individuals, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, ability or age. 
Short video outlining flawed assumptions and expectations related to volunteering

Examples

Human trafficking in the transport industry: 

Sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism (SECTT):

Diversity & Inclusion: 

  • Tourism Diversity Matters provides fundamental Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion training for organizations and individuals to support diverse workplaces. Assistance ranges from designing hiring procedures and recruitment practices to secure diverse leadership within organizations to adopting racial equity workforce goals implemented through training, webinars, and mentorship programmes.
  • The non-profit Open Doors Organization provides educational seminars, diversity programs and disability-related customer service training to restaurants, hotels, cultural facilities, air carriers, airline service companies, cruise lines, passenger railroad service and motorcoach companies. Moreover, they've assisted the US Department of Homeland Security agency Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in the training of its disability experts known as Passenger Support Specialists. The ODO Academy hosts both their webinar and eLearning courses. 
  • Booking.com has joined forces with HospitableMe to offer a free Proud Hospitality training course as part of the Travel Proud Programme. It's designed exclusively for partners and includes a take-home toolkit for staff training, with the goal of helping business partners achieve Proud certified status. The programme aims at removing the barriers for LGBTQI* travelers. From marketing advice to communication tips, the training provides a variety of practical insights. 
  • Carnival Cruise Line became the first cruise line to be certified ‘sensory inclusive’ by KultureCity – a leading non-profit dedicated to accessibility and inclusion for individuals with sensory and nonvisible disabilities. All of the guest facing staff have received specialized training and are available to support customers with any sensoryrelated questions or barriers. As part of their commitment to raise awareness among their guests, two short informational videos are shown on in-stateroom televisions explaining the KultureCity partnership and overarching mission of acceptance and inclusivity.
  • The nonprofit Travel Unity offers a Certified Diversity Travel Professional (CDTP) program . The professional development course is designed for those in leadership roles in visitor-facing organizations. Based on Travel Unity's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Standards for Travel & Tourism, the program supports in creating a comprehensive DEI plan and prepares for potentially being certified by Travel Unity.  
  • The Adventure Booking Platform TourRadar offers a free online course called Travel Writing 101to amplify BIPOC voices in travel. Tackling the lack of diverse representation in travel writing, the company's online travel magazine is offering editorial mentorship to members of the BIPOC community. The goal is to amplify their voices and promote diversity in travel writing.   

Resources

Tools:

Further Resources: 

Human rights due diligence

To support in-house human rights education, the Roundtable Human Rights in Tourism has developed two free online training courses, which are available to professionals from tourism companies, especially tour operators (see link below). The online training is intended to familiarise learners with the international human rights framework and the expectations they have of (their) company. Participants are made aware of the various human rights areas touched by their business activities. 

A video explaining how tourism potentially impacts human rights and how tour operators and travellers can act.

Examples

Resources

Learn more

Find more information in the Resource Centre.