Symposium 2020 | Beyond the crisis: How to create social benefit and resilience in tourism

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Roundtable Human Rights in Tourism invites you!

Beyond the crisis: How to create social benefit and resilience in tourism

28 September 2020

10.00 am – 04.15 pm CEST (GMT + 02:00; Amsterdam, Berlin, Bern, Rome, Stockholm, Vienna)

Online (Zoom)

Description and Agenda


Tourism is a people’s business and highly dependent on the stakeholders along the value chain. If done sustainably and with respect to human rights, tourism can create social benefit such as wellbeing, community identity and social cohesion in destinations. Expectations towards tourism businesses to implement their human rights responsibility according to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights are rising.

With Covid-19 many tourism businesses are facing existential threats, as they seek to survive or adapt to an unprecedented reality. At the same time the responsibility for health and well-being of guests and employees, as well as suppliers is reaching a new level. The pandemic itself is impacting supply chains immensely, and without any doubt it puts human rights at higher risk – especially vulnerable groups in the destinations are profoundly affected by the crisis and most at risk to human rights disregards.

In an interactive and solution oriented multi-stakeholder setting this online symposium will explore how a human rights-based approach can create social benefit and be a response to the specific challenges that Covid-19 reinforces:

  1. Assess: What are human rights specific challenges of tourism businesses and stakeholders and in which forms are they interlinked with the Covid-19 crisis?
  2. Rethink: How can a focus on human rights-compliant decision-making and robust due diligence help to expand the links between economic and social benefit, and increase on the long run the resilience of destinations?
  3. Adjust: How can tourism stakeholders practically adapt to the crisis while improving the human rights situation and giving customers the confidence to travel again?

The event offers keynotes, inputs and a panel discussion in the morning, and interactive thematic workshop sessions for practical exchange in smaller groups in the afternoon.


09.30 - 10.00 am             

Technical Onboarding

10.00 - 10.20 am               

Welcome & Introduction
Antje Monshausen, Chairwoman Roundtable Human Rights in Tourism, Head of Tourism Watch (BfdW)
Klaus Ammann, Deputy Head of Business Editorial Department Radio SRF


10.20 - 10.50 am


Keynote: Managing Risks & Opportunities: Changes during times of crises in tourism
Dr David Beirman PhD, Senior Lecturer: Tourism, Management Discipline Group, UTS Business School – Australia

10.50 - 11.05 am  

Overview of Business and Human Rights actions worldwide
Archita Faustmann, Advocacy Advisor/ Human Rights Specialist, Helvetas, Switzerland

11.05 - 11.25 am  

Switzerland’s commitment to human rights and new challenges with regard to Covid-19 
Rémy Friedmann, Senior Advisor Desk Human Security and Business, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), Switzerland 

11.25 - 11.35 am   BREAK
11.35 am - 12.25 pm  

Findings and learnings from the Roundtable Human Rights Impact Assessment in Thailand and Myanmar
Matthias Leisinger, Co-Founder and CEO, focusright
Tony Reyhanloo, Sustainability Manager, DER Touristik Suisse
Jara Schreiber, Coordinator, Roundtable Human Rights in Tourism 

12.25 - 12.55 pm  

Video-Snapshots from Tourism Stakeholders
How has Covid-19 affected the working and living situation of different tourism stakeholders in Thailand and Myanmar from a human rights-perspective?

12.55 - 01.45 pm   LUNCH BREAK
01.45 - 02.35 pm  

Panel Discussion:  How to create social benefit and resilience beyond the crisis as tourism stakeholder
Ulrike Braun, Director Corporate Responsibility, DER Touristik Group
Win Min, Senior Programme Associate, Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business
Peter-Mario Kubsch, Managing Director, Studiosus Reisen München
Debbie Stothard, Coordinator/Founder, ALTSEAN
Free seat for participants' contributions (Fishbowl)

Moderation: Klaus Ammann

02.35 - 02.45 pm   BREAK
02.45 - 03.45 pm  

Parallel breakout sessions: 
What tourism stakeholders can do to improve the human rights situation in the supply chain

Room  1 –  How to support local communities to become resilient
Sumesh Mangalasseri, Chairman & Managing Director, Kabani, India
Tony Reyhanloo, Sustainability Manager, DER Touristik Suisse

Room  2 – How to ensure economic inclusion of the informal sector
Win Min, Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business

Room  3 – How to deal with harassment and discrimination of female workers
Debbie Stothard, Coordinator/Founder, ALTSEAN & Matthias Leisinger, Co-Founder and CEO, focusright

Room  4 – How to approach tourism-related human rights violations on the doorstep – discussing case studies from Europe
Nina Sahdeva Ndotoni, Editorial office and education, akte - Working Group on Tourism and Development

Room 5 –  How to improve conditions for migrant workers and prevent modern slavery and why it is relevant for investors relations
Andy Hall, Independent  human rights defender and migrant workers rights specialist
Antje Monshausen, Head of Tourism Watch (BfdW)

Info-Session: Around the Roundtable - Tools and Offers
Jara Schreiber, Coordinator, Roundtable Human Rights in Tourism

03.45 - 04.15 pm  

Presentations and Closing

Closing Note
Bruno Bisig, General Manager, Kontiki Reisen, part of DER Touristik Suisse (Co-Chair of the Roundtable)