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Child Welfare and the Travel Industry – Global Good Practice Guidelines

Categories: Human Rights, People and Places
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As the demand for experiential travel and social, cultural, and community-based tourism grows, so do the risk factors for children as well as potential risks for your staff and reputation. Children deserve and need the power of the tourism industry and associated businesses to adopt approaches that not only recognize their vulnerability but also seek to mitigate risks to them. Most of the time these risks are solely linked to possible sexual exploitation and/or abuse, but there are other harm factors that the industry needs to work to address. For example, is your business considerate of how you use images of children in marketing and advertising? Do your products include activities with potential negative impacts, such as visiting schools or orphanages? Do your clients know that giving money to (or buying gifts from) a begging child is harmful?

In 2017, ChildSafe partnered with G Adventures and Planeterra Foundation to develop practical, international guidelines for the travel industry to use within their own companies and initiatives, a first of their kind. They extend beyond obviously harmful behaviors and expose the potential negative effects of common, well-intentioned efforts.

There are 15 guidelines organized under four sections to offer businesses a structured approach for implementation:

  1. Guidelines to ensure your company is able to prevent and respond to child abuse arising from tourism interactions
  2. Guidelines for your products and services to have the best impact on children
  3. Guidelines to ensure your Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives are reinforcing child welfare
  4. Guidelines for implementation

These guidelines have been developed to provide a common understanding of child welfare issues throughout the travel industry and to provide all travel businesses with guidance to prevent all forms of exploitation and abuse of children that could be related to travelers and the tourism industry. In short, they will enable you to do more good through your business.

 

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The Code (short for “The Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation in Travel and Tourism”) is an industry-driven responsible tourism initiative with a mission to provide awareness, tools and support to the tourism industry in order to prevent the sexual exploitation of children.

Visit their events on Child Protection in Travel and Tourism:

  1. Workshop on Child Protection in Travel and Tourism: 7-8 June, 2017 Luang Prabang, Laos
  2. Industry Training Session on Preventing Sexual Exploitation of Children in Travel and Tourism, 15 June, 2017, Chiang Mar, Thailand

 

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Offenders on the Move: GLOBAL STUDY ON SEXUAL EXPLOITATION OF CHILDREN IN TRAVEL AND TOURISM 2016

Categories: Case Study, Featured Post, Human Rights, Non-Profit
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The Global Study on SECTT aims to bring this gross violation of children’s right into the light, and marks the 20th anniversary of the 1st World Congress on the Sexual Exploitation of Children. Guided by a High-Level Taskforce and informed by detailed studies from every region and many countries, as well as contributions from experts and only) research initiative on SECTT to explore emerging trends and possible solutions. Read more.

Click here for Regional Reports.

 

 

*Courtesy of The Code

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Credit: Shutterstock

This year is the United Nations’ International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. UN World Tourism Organisation Secretary-General Taleb Rifai declared it gave:

… a unique opportunity to advance the contribution of the tourism sector to the three pillars of sustainability – economic, social and environmental, while raising awareness of the true dimensions of a sector which is often undervalued.

Sustainable tourism comes from the concept of sustainable development, as set out in the 1987 Brundtland report. Sustainable development is:

… development which meets the needs of current generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

British environmental activist George Monbiot argued that, over the years, sustainable development has morphed into sustained growth. The essence of his argument is that little resolve exists to go beyond rhetoric. This is because environmental crises require we limit the demands we place on it, but our economies require endless growth.

At the moment, economic growth trumps environmental limits, so sustainability remains elusive.

 

Read the full article here. Written by Freya Higgins-Desbiolles for The Conversation. 

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Logo from Tourism & More, Inc.

 

 

 

As of the writing of this article, Europe continues to have multiple terrorism attacks.  Tourism & More sends its prayers to all those who are victims of terrorism

No matter in what area of tourism you may be, the simple fact is that tourism is a customer-oriented business.  Without customer service, not only your marketing will eventually fail, but also the business’ viability will be in question. Good service is to tourism what oxygen is to the body. It is the lifeblood of how the industry works.Providing good customer service is often a challenge. Tourism, Many of the frontline positions tend to receive only entry-level pay. The hours are long and neither the financial nor social-psychological awards are great.   Often customers take out their frustration on these very people, even when the frontline person can do nothing or has no decision-making authority.  Thus, the people who often have the least amount of authority are often the most abused and at times most frustrated.

One of the results of these problems is that often frontline positions have a high rate of tur  The lack of training then results in poorer customer service that produces a downward spiral.

Often employers present customer service skills as a necessary part of the job or something that employees simply have to do.  Additionally, and all too often, frontline personnel in tourism are not treated as professionals and this lack of professionalism is then reflected in their attitude toward our customers.

The French have a saying: “Tout c’est dans la presentation/everything depends on how you market it”.  That statement also holds true for customer service. If we present the training as merely customer service, that often produces a “so what” attitude.  If, on the other hand, we present the same training as “life skill enhancement” then the value of what we teach goes far beyond that of a frontline tourism professional.

Change for-the-job training to life skills and we may succeed in changing the attitude of some of our more problematic employees.   When we present this training as a professionalization process used to empower our frontline personnel to make decisions that impacts the way a guest is treated, we are on the road not only to better customer service but also to happier employees.  To help you implement these attitudinal changes Tourism Tidbits suggests considering some of the following principles:

 

– Remind our frontline personnel that in life just as in tourism the key to winning over difficult people is to exhibit: Empathy, coupled with patience. Most people in life can accept that things do go wrong, but what they cannot accept is an attitude that states: “I could care less.” Hospitality is based on caring.  Work with your personnel to exhibit a healthy questioning attitude.  When we involve ourselves in the other person’s problems, we turn anger into an experience and we become our customer’s host rather than a mere employee.  Be careful not to confuse empathy with sympathy. Good customer service is always empathetic but never sympathetic.  In a like manner remember that visitors are in a new environment and often feel lost. Patience and the ability to state the same fact two or three times is a life skill that goes a long way toward personal success.

– Teach Crises come about when we have a tourism breakdown and we refuse to adapt to a new situation. Things do happen, planes arrive late, hotel rooms may not be ready, food may be served too cold or too hot.  Learning how to adapt to new situations is essential not only in tourism but also in life.  This need for adaptability means that have to allow our frontline people to make rapid decisions.  Chains of command rarely work in life and almost never in tourism.

– Just as in life remind your front line personnel that every customer is different and almost every situation is unique.  Often in life we become jaded and take the position that we have heard it all before.  In tourism, as is the case in most things in life, people want to be taken seriously, want to be heard and want to believe that their case is being handled in a unique and special format.   That means that we must learn to listen attentively and be sure that the other person understands that we are hearing their issue.  Remember that hearing an issue does not mean agreeing with it, but it does mean that we recognize the emotions of the other person.

– Communicate in a clear and calm manner.  Often problems arise when we do not say what we mean.  Avoid pronouns.  Make sure that you use clear and precise language.  Try to stay on topic and do not allow telephone calls to interfere with your problem solving.  It is essential to remind frontline people that most customers want a problem solved quickly and efficiently. They are not seeking friendships but rather solutions. In today’s world of hypersensitivity use words carefully and a joke can easily be perceived as an insult.

– Be Knowledge. One of the worst things that a frontline employee can do is provide false information.  A good rule of life is if you do not have an answer, do not create an answer just so that you can look smart of efficient.  On the other side of the equation, it is essential for management to provide frontline personnel with as much up-to-date and accurate information as possible.

All of us need to have a thicker skin and remember that a job is only a job.  In tourism as in life all of us will need to confront situations outside of our control (remember with the exception of natural complainers, that our guests are speaking to us because they have had a terrible day). This is where empathy comes into play and we remember that we have the power to turn someone’s awful day into a wonderful day.

 

 

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The same people and organizations we admire for protecting our wild places also have a history of being apathetic—or plain antagonistic—toward issues of race and social justice

Given the history of conservationists elevating endangered plant life over endangered black lives, it is environmentalism’s soul that most needs saving.    Photo: Kristen Rogers Photography/Stock

 

Facing a new White House administration led by Donald Trump, environmental leaders recently signed an accord pledging their allegiance to civil rights and social justice. Among the signatories are several leaders of the Sierra Club, including its executive director, Michael Brune, who in recent years has steered the organization toward rather bold stances on a range of issues that aren’t traditionally recognized as “green.” In 2013, its board of directors voted that the organization should advocate for immigrant rights. The following year, the Sierra Club endorsed and defended the Black Lives Matter movement. Since President Trump came into office, the organization’s resolve has only strengthened, as Brune indicated in a November 18 blog post: “I’m proud of how the Sierra Club has begun to address the intersection of climate with inequality, race, class, and gender, and I guarantee that we’ll go even deeper.”

This shift toward racial justice matters has not been universally accepted among the Sierra Club’s ranks and may even have cost it a few members. Those who disapprove have often expressed sentiments amounting to “racism is not the environmental movement’s responsibility.” But Brune says the organization won’t be backing off anytime soon, a position he forcefully defended on the group’s blog. He will assure his members, he tells me, “that we are continuing to protect wildlife and wild places, and this is how we can best do that in the 21st century.”

What Brune is acknowledging is the darker legacy of the green movement. Some may believe that environmentalism has little to do with social justice issues, but the mission of the Sierra Club, and many conservation groups like it throughout the late-19th century and most of the 20th century, was anything but race neutral. In many ways, racial exclusivity actually shaped the environmental mission, which is what makes the Sierra Club’s leap toward civil rights advocacy such a radical move. It’s important not because a network like Black Lives Matter needs environmentalists, but because environmentalists need black lives. Given the history of conservationists elevating endangered plant life over endangered people of color, it is environmentalism’s soul that most needs saving.

 

Read the full article here.

By Brentin Mock from Outside

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WorldOfWorkBanner_Feb2017_960pxWide

Thailand, 2015. Photo: UN Women/Pornvit Visitoran. | Lebanon, 2015. Photo: UN Women/Joe Saad | Kenya, 2016. Photo: CIAT/Georgina Smith

The 2017 theme for International Women’s Day, 8 March, focuses on “Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030”. 

The world of work is changing, with significant implications for women. On one hand, technological advances and globalization bring unprecedented opportunities for those who can access them. On the other hand, there is growing informality of labour, income inequality and humanitarian crises.

Against this backdrop, only 50 per cent of working age women are represented in the labour force globally, compared to 76 per cent of men. What’s more, an overwhelming majority of women are in the informal economy, subsidizing care and domestic work, and concentrated in lower-paid, lower-skill occupations with little or no social protection. Achieving gender equality in the world of work is imperative for sustainable development.

Read more about the International Women’s Day here. By UN Women.

 

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#TravelEnjoyRespect

The United Nations 70th General Assembly has designated 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.

 

To that end, please explore the official IY2017 website at www.tourism4development2017.org, which is their primary tool for coordinating the worldwide celebrations of the year, and on which more than 200 events and activities have already been registered. The UNWTO kindly invites you to upload your IY2017-related initiatives, as well as to share your best practices, stories and/or knowledge. Your initiatives will be visible on the website’s calendar and global map, and you will be able to use the IY2017 logo in all your communications. Kindly note that all the information they receive will be included in their final report to the UN General Assembly in 2018.

Furthermore, UNWTO is organizing a series of events and activities, the details of which you can find in the attached document. For instance, they are running a consumer-oriented awareness-raising campaign “Travel.Enjoy.Respect.” with six useful tips for responsible travel, and would very much like you to help disseminate it as broadly as possible. In addition, UNWTO is organizing 14 IY2017 Official Events, as well as producing two flagship reports related to the themes and objectives of the IY2017, for which your support and input would be more than welcome and on which more info will follow shortly. As part of their awareness-raising activities, they have also initiated a Special Ambassadors programme, currently comprising seven high-profile individuals who will help spread the relevant messages regarding tourism as an agent for positive change.

Read more: PATA Sustainability & IY2017 Initiatives

 

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Flight Attendants Train to Spot Human Trafficking

Categories: Americas, Human Rights
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shelia-fedrick

Shelia Fedrick. Picture courtesy of Shelia Fedrick.

Shelia Fedrick said she instinctively felt something was wrong the moment she saw the girl with greasy blonde hair sitting in the window seat of aisle 10 on a flight from Seattle to San Francisco.

The girl “looked like she had been through pure hell,” said Fedrick, 49, a flight attendant working for Alaska Airlines. Fedrick guessed that the girl was about 14 or 15 years old, travelling with a notably well-dressed older man. The stark contrast between the two set off alarm bells in her head.

Fedrick tried to engage them in conversation, but the man became defensive, she said.

“I left a note in one of the bathrooms,” Fedrick said. “She wrote back on the note and said ‘I need help.'” – By Kalhan Rosenblatt. Read more on NBC News.

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Ten countries that protect their environment and respect human rights

Chile_made the list of the ten most ethical travel destinations for 2017

Chile made the list of the ten most ethical travel destinations for 2017, in part due to its expanding solar industry in places like the Atacama Desert, pictured above. Photo credit: Danielle Pereira / Flickr

Travel is more than an opening for good will, writes Ethical Traveller. It is one of the world’s most powerful economic engines, and can drive the way countries treat their citizens, indigenous peoples, wildlife and the environment. Travel is the world’s largest industry, with a trillion-dollar annual footprint. This means that travelers have enormous power. Where we put our footprints has reverberations reaching far beyond our personal experience. By “voting with our wings” – choosing our destinations well and cultivating our roles as citizen diplomats – we can help to change the world for the better.

Every year, Ethical Traveler reviews the policies and practices of over one hundred developing nations. We then select the ten that are doing the most impressive job of promoting human rights, preserving the environment and supporting social welfare – all while creating a lively, community-based tourism industry. By visiting these countries, we can use our economic leverage to reward good works and support best practices.

 


The Winners
Ethical Traveler congratulates the countries on our 2017 list of The World’s Ten Best Ethical Destinations. The winners, in alphabetical order (not in order of merit), are:

  • Belize
  • Cabo Verde
  • Chile
  • Costa Rica
  • Dominica
  • Mongolia
  • Palau
  • Tonga
  • Uruguay
  • Vanuatu

By Ethical Traveller. Find out how the list is created – click here to read the original article.

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