When developing new products, make sure human rights are considered from the outset. As a first step, the salient human rights risks for the company’s operations and its value chain should be kept in mind (see value chain assessment).
As a basic rule, it is about applying common sense judgment in which the best and most responsible choice needs to be determined. Questions product developers can ask when developing new products and tours include:
The two following examples provide general reflections on sustainable excursion planning:
The following tabs provide information on tools and considerations which can help improve responsible product development.
⇒ Click here to identify your value chain-related human rights risks
When choosing service providers while developing new products, look out for third-party certifications that confirm a potential business partner is respecting human rights. The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) provides a list of certifications that meet high standards.
Some tour operators decide to develop their own company “label” for responsible tourism (second party audit) based on their own criteria. To ensure credibility, such criteria should be made publicly available and take human rights issues into account.
For some local initiatives, receiving international certification is not possible (size, price, know-how etc.). Working with certified providers is therefore not the only way to promote responsible tourism.
In some destinations, community-driven tourism initiatives can be found already. Some are well developed and can be contracted immediately. Others, however, are lacking know-how and skills about the quality standards expected by international tour operators. Some direct engagement and training might be needed to bring them up to speed and for them to become an adequate partner.
If no established community-driven tourism initiative can be found in a specific destination, engagement with local communities is needed before taking up operations. They should be consulted on their opinions about tourism development in their region, on their ideas and on how they could best benefit from tourism development in their area.
Find local artisanal cooperatives who work for the benefit of the local community (e.g. with women, children etc.). Develop partnerships with those institutions, including integrating visits to shops where those products can be bought in tours, and encourage tourists to buy from those local initiatives directly.
Examples of community-based tourism initiatives:
Develop products that specifically take into account the needs of people with disabilities (including accessible hotels, accessible rental cars, etc.).
Indigenous people are among the most disadvantaged people in the world. Often living in resource-rich regions, in many cases their way of life is threatened by economic interests. Being a minority group, they are often discriminated socially, economically or politically which makes it difficult for them to participate in decision-making processes that affect their way of life and culture. When developing touristic offers to areas where indigenous people live, take specific care to make sure your product is respectful of local traditions.
Prior to developing new volunteering offers, carefully carry out due diligence in terms of the partner organisation on the ground. Only offer specific assignments that are based on the needs articulated by the local community (e.g. specific expertise requested by local population) and which do not compete with the local job market. Enable transfer of knowledge and expertise to empower the local community and enter solid partnerships with local organisations. Define a minimal duration of stay for volunteers and avoid short-term placements, especially when children are involved. Exclude day visits to schools in your itineraries.
In post-conflict situations, tourism is often one of the first sectors to experience a new boom. For instance, in Sri Lanka after 26 years of civil war, or in Burma when the dictatorship came to an end. Business operations in high-risk environments are faced with unique security and human rights challenges. When operating in destinations that are politically fragile, particular due diligence is needed for the development of touristic products. Learn about the conflict that has affected the country, ask questions about ownership and land acquisition, find out about the composition of staff working in tourism and the participation of community members in the development of this industry.
Consult the guidance developed by the Roundtable Human Rights in Tourism on tourism in fragile contexts to learn more (see link below).
Many dedicated people and (civil society) organisations are open to providing information on the situation in a specific country.
Contact them directly – that’s how you most effectively get the most important information. Contact the Roundtable Human Rights in Tourism for help.
Plan tours in a way that allows drivers to have the necessary rest periods and consult the guidance developed by the Roundtable Human Rights in Tourism on the implementation of labor and social standards for driving personnel in the tourism sector (see link below).
Make sure to uphold child welfare across all areas of business, including the supply chain, to prevent all forms of exploitation and abuse of children (that could be related to travellers and the tourism industry).
Guidance on driving personnel:
Guidance on Child Welfare:
Find more information in the Resource Centre.