International Symposium Vienna 2018

Symposium 2018 Vienna 1

On 28 June 2018, Roundtable Human Rights in Tourism, in cooperation with its member Naturefriends International organised the International Symposium "Human Rights in Practice: Tourism and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development"

The symposium took place at Naturefriends International's office in Vienna, Austria. 

50 international participants from tour operators, governmental and non-governmental organisations, travel associations and other institutions discussed with various experts how tourism businesses can practically contribute to respect for human rights and fulfilment of the SDGs with their activities and business relationships.

The symposium started with an introduction on the linkage of human rights and SDGs by Karin Lukas from the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights, showing the overlaps and giving first ideas how to combine the two concepts in tourism practice.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development with its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is a comprehensive and universal framework for governments and businesses. Embedding respect for human rights along their supply chain is the most powerful contribution of tourism businesses to sustainable development.

Roundtable members and partners presented different approaches to integrate SDGs into tourism practice with a focus on decent working conditions in destinations. The presentations were followed by a discussion with all participants: 

  • Clare Jenkinson (ABTA), reported on the travel association's support on the Modern Slavery Act for their members in the UK.
  • Ann-Katrin Dolium and Maria Sjödin (Schyst Resande) reported on their campaign on living wages for Burmese migrant workers in Thailand. 
  • Kerstin Dohnal (destination:development) presented her participatory destination development approach, working with an impact chain based on social reporting standards
  • Veronika Schanderl (Swisscontact) presented their adaption of ILO SCORE program for small hospitality businesses in Flores, Indonesia.

The afternoon workshop sessions offered a great opportunity to exchange and learn from each other. Experts gave short impulses on four thematic areas to start a discussion on participants’ experiences, challenges and questions:

  • Martin Balas (TourCert) & Ruth Hopfer-Kubsch (Studiosus): How can dialogue with suppliers can be increased and common standards be developed? 
  • Matthias Leisinger (DER Touristik Suisse) & Markus Löning (Löning - Human Rights and Responsible Business): How can Human Rights information in destinations be gathered and tourism impacts be identified and prioritized?
  • Susana Ceron Baumann (Ventura Travel) & Theo Noten (ECPAT Netherlands): How can Human Rights topics be communicated internally and towards customers?
  • Caroline Steimle (Futouris) & David Ville (Thomas Cook UK): How can Public Private Partnership projects support decent work in tourism? How can Multi Stakeholder approaches work for sustainable development of tourism?

Upcoming ideas and practical, already implemented approaches were collected and documented as inspiration and assistance for tourism businesses.

Please find the complete documentation of the symposium with the presentations and findings of the discussions here