Communication and reporting

Transparency is an important aspect of responsible business conduct. Public communication on identified risks and measures taken increases a company’s credibility and accountability.

Publicly speaking about potential human rights issues and how they are being addressed also contributes to increasing awareness about challenges faced by the industry and fosters exchange and mutual learning on how to address human rights impacts as companies and as a sector.

Communication on human rights can happen through various channels, such as companies’ websites, travel blogs, newsletters, social media, customer information and corporate reporting.

Public reporting should be based on regular progress reviews and monitored with the help of human rights-related indicators to measure the effect and success of measures taken.

Providing greater clarity of information is also a key area in enabling travelers with disabilities to make fully informed decisions and understand the opportunities available. However, accessibility comes in all shapes and sizes and can also include parents with buggies, temporary injuries, and ageing-related needs. Clear information about products, services and processes will allow travelers to consider potential barriers and request adjustments or make changes easily and effectively.  

The tabs below provide concrete recommendations for and examples of communication channels, reporting and monitoring mechanisms.

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

Customer information
Reporting
Monitoring
Customer information

Customer information materials developed carefully and which consider potential human rights-related impacts can help avoid negative impacts of tourist behaviours in a destination. Information linked to customers’ rights should be included in such communication too. Relevant information can be integrated in travel documents, handed out to customers, added to itineraries or provided in dedicated brochures.

Depending on the human rights issues identified (see value chain risk assessment on this website), customer information can include the following topics:

  • local traditions, customs, and religions in the destination
  • the general human rights situation in the destination (incl. the specific situation for LGBTQI* travelers, women, etc.) 
  • recommendations as to where to buy souvenirs that are produced locally and benefit local communities (including information on imported or potentially fake products)
  • how to behave when encountering child beggars / children selling souvenirs or food
  • how to identify human trafficking / sexual exploitation of children and how to react
  • how to take pictures with respect
  • accessibility of touristic services (considering the needs of various forms of disabilities such as visually impaired, deaf, impaired mobility, wheelchair etc.)
  • how customers’ personal data is used and with whom it is shared

Examples

Destination-related information: 

  • Studiosus includes information on the «dark side» of destinations in its catalogues describing product offers. This includes political, social and ecological topics – always with respect towards business partners and local communities in the destinations (in German only).
  • The “Sympathiemagazine” by the Institute for Tourism and Development provide in depth information about a destination (in German only).
  • Fairaway provides detailed information on the human rights situation in destinations (e.g. gay travel index, press freedom, antidiscrimination act, gender equality or restrictions on entry of HIV-positive persons). Moreover, they are linking to an external platform providing information on the human rights situation in their destinations. (German only)

Before the trip:

  • The British Travel Association ABTA provides an extensive Q+A section on its website on consumer questions regarding all potential aspects of holidays, including consumer rights and how and where to place complaints.

During the trip:

  • Studiosus published a customer information brochure on how to respectfully take pictures (2015): Blickfang. Gedanken zum Fotografieren auf Reisen (in German only). 
  • If Gebeco guests identify concerns during their trip, they are requested to notify the company via a specially created email address. Tour guides are also made aware of the importance of respect for human rights during regular training courses in Germany and abroad, as well as through a separate chapter in the comprehensive tour guide. In 2019 Gebeco introduced a child protection flyer.
  • Far frontiers published guidelines called The Himalayan Tourist Code for travelers to preserve the environment and culture of the Himalaya.
  • G Adventures published a child welfare policy and guidelines called Child Welfare Traveller Code of Conduct as well as 'helpful insight to remember' and a list of dos and don'ts for travelers.

Diversity & Inclusion: 

  • Booking.com launched a new badge for Proud Certified properties, symbolising their commitment to more welcoming experiences for all. After completing the free online Proud Hospitality training course and making a commitment to deliver inclusive experiences, the rainbow suitcase is visible to all travelers on the property page. Moreover, cities with multiple Proud Certified properties are showcased on a designated Travel Proud page with inclusive properties displayed to guests. To dispel fears and concerns of LGBTQI* travelers, Booking.com pays attention to visibility and gender-neutral language within their messaging and visuals.
  • Alaska Airlines has a strong commitment to providing accessible services for people with disabilities, and partners with many disability organizations to offer innovative and inclusive services. Hosting 'practice flights' for travelers with disabilities, the airline provides clear information about all potential barriers and processes at the airport and during the flight. To expand their services for passengers with disabilities, they partnered with Infiniteach to create the free app 'Fly For All' that explains the different stages of getting ready to fly. The app has an optional read-aloud setting and features interactive content, including communication cards anyone can use to communicate non-verbally. Moreover, the app highlights and signposts travelers to further information about other accessible travel services and assistance. 
  • TravelAbility has been working to influence the information shared by providers online regarding their accessibility features. Their “Landing Page initiative” is a campaign to encourage providers to develop easily accessible webpages which provide comprehensive information about accessibility features and support travelers in their decisionmaking. Moreover, the organization has recently published the "Herd Accessibility" Initiative to aggregate destination landing pages containing links to accessible attractions, museums and hotels. The initiative will be completed by research, best-practice resources and workshops on digital accessibility. 
  • Tourism Diversity Matters published an Accessibility Statement on their website, committing to providing website content that is accessible for all and providing an email adress to report any accessibility issues. 
  • Expedia Group publishes guidance for their lodging partners on how to better market the accessibility of their properties, including information on how to upload photos that will be most useful to travelers with disabilities and providing specific room dimensions and exact accessibility features.
  • Expedia Group's Orbitz allows to search or filter for LGBTQI*-friendly accommodations by highlighting businesses that have signed an Orbitz Inclusivity Pledge against discrimination on the basis of gender and sexual identity. Signing partners are committed to enforcing a zero-tolerance policy for discriminatory behaviour from staff at any level and/or have adopted additional measures, including implementation of staff training on gender identity and the use of gender-neutral language. Moreover, they provide useful content for LGBTQI* travelers.
  • Royal Caribbean International published an Accessible Seas brochure to support their guests with disabilities by providing clear information in advance. The brochure contains key information including the width of accessible room doors, roll-in showers with grab bars, lowered sinks, large print menus, Braille signage and orientation tours. Moreover, the brochure outlines a clear process for requesting accommodations (e.g. sign language interpretation, assistive listening devices, visual-tactile alert system, shower stool etc.). Information concerning their private island destination includes accessible routes, accessible transport modes, complimentary beach wheelchairs and accessible pools.  
  • Black & Abroad chose the phrase "Go Back to Africa" as the title of their pan-African tourism campaign in order to reclaim and redefine the expression and to change the narrative around it. The expression has a long backstory with roots in the transatlantic slave trade and has long been used to promote hate and racism toward African Americans. Reframing the story, the travel & lifestyle platform launched a campaign that aims to show the beauty and diversity of Africa's 54 countries. At the same time, the campaign highlights the lack of diverse travelers in travel ads, commercials and stock images.  
  • The International LGBTQ+ Travel Association (IGLTA) provides free travel resources and information while continuously working to promote equality and safety within LGBTQ+ tourism. Being the world's leading network of LGBTQ+-welcoming tourism businesses, the IGLTA published several LGBTQ+ Travel Guides to provide travelers with an overview of each country including up-to-date insights on LGBTQ+ laws and protections.
  • Delta published a detailed guide and tips for passengers with disabilities. For instance, passengers who travel with assistive devices can use Delta's wheelchair equipment. For those traveling with sensory sensitivities, Delta, in partnership with Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and autism advocacy group Autism Speaks, opened a multi-sensory room for kids with autism and other special needs. The room is specifically designed to be a calming, supportive environment for young passengers with cognitive or developmental disabilities, offering a place to unwind and decompress during the travel experience. For travelers who are deaf or hard of hearing, Delta recommends its Fly Delta app. Moreover, some airports have begun offering hearing loops and visual paging systems.
  • Access Earth launched an app allowing travelers to rate hotels, restaurants, and tourist attractions based on their accessibility for people with mobility disabilities. Building a mapping and review database of accessibility information and offering diversity and inclusion workshops, Access Earth aims to help travelers with disabilities to take control and easily access detailed information on the accessibility of places around the world. 
  • Visit Alexandria announced a new ad campaign to welcome black travelers, acknowledging the city's past and present while using inclusive storytelling and highlighting black business owners and leaders. Aiming to paint a more inclusive picture of the city, the "Drop In" campaign is part of Visit Alexandria's expanded marketing to diverse audiences.  
  • Scandic provides detailed accessibility information at each hotel, ranging from the distance to the disabled parking to the width of the doors and the height of the beds. 
  • Makingtrax assists adventure companies to provide relevant information and adapt their products for travelers with disabilities. Their Trax Seal serves as a visual statement for clients and public to ascertain the companies stand on inclusive tourism. 
  • Wheel the World provides guidance for travelers with disabilities. They not only provide accessible information on hotels and vacation rentals, tours and activities as well as travel packages, but also run a helpful blog covering a variety of topics for travelers with disabilities. 

Resources

Recommendations

When choosing where to stay, in addition to looking for transparent information and explicit signs that a travel experience will be safe, LGBTQI* travelers or BIPOC travelers also look for themselves in your marketing efforts. In order to tackle unconscious bias towards certain types of travelers and to ensure your services are welcoming to people of all backgrounds and abilities, it can be helpful to conduct an internal assessment of your content and marketing strategies. Are different perspectives and abilities represented internally within your team and externally towards customers?

A key area for providing more clarity is the use of the term 'accessible'. How accessible a product or service is depends upon the barriers the individual faces. Therefore, using the term accessible is not enough but must be completed by clear and detailed information regarding the facilities (e.g. step-free access, hearing loops, adjustable bed heights, alternative formats, accessible transportation or quiet zones).  

Reporting

Integrate information on the human rights issues deemed most salient (see value chain risk assessment on this website) by your company, including the way they are addressed (action plan) in the company’s annual reporting. This should include information on the company’s human rights policies and processes (see related measure card), measures taken throughout the year and how they are monitored (performance indicators).

If sustainability reporting has already been conducted, it is recommended that human rights aspects are integrated or strengthened in the already existing system. In addition to the internal processes, the impacts of supply chains and business relations should also be reported.

For standardised reporting, one the following recognised standards may be used:

  • GRI G4 Sustainability Reporting Guidelines
  • Ten Principles of UN Global Compact
  • UNGP Reporting Framework, which is the world’s first comprehensive guide for companies about reporting on how they respect human rights.

Many certification schemes such as TourCert cover human rights aspects and tour operators might cover human rights related aspects in their reporting to achieve a certification.

Introductory video on the UNGP Reporting Framework.

Examples

Find examples of Modern Slavery Statements in the Modern Slavery Registry online (in compliance with UK Modern Slavery Act).

For an example of an Inclusion & Diversity Report, have a look at the 2020 Inclusion & Diversity Report and the UK 2020 Gender Pay Gap Report of Expedia Group. 

Resources

Monitoring

Public reporting should be based on regular progress reviews and monitored with the help of human rights-related indicators. The effect and success of measures taken should be measured. Integrate indicators into the action plan for the purpose of steering and result checking.

Exemplary human rights-related indicators for tour operators can be found in the Roundtable Human Rights in Tourism’s implementation guideline on human rights for tour operators (see link below).

Resources

Learn more

Find more information in the Resource Centre.