In what ways are visitors tourists protected around the world?

When individuals travel out of their native land, they acquire the status of ‘tourists’. While tourists may be internal or international, difficulties mainly exist in the safety regulations for international visitor tourists.

International Visitor Tourists are those who travel abroad for a short period of time either for recreational purposes or to engage in familial and business matters. In any case, they are aliens to the foreign land for the time being and thus are unaware of the rules, guidelines and regulatory protocols to be adopted while they are there.

In such situations, whose duty is it to guide them? Which institution is liable for their safety and security? Are the tourism sector cushioned with enough regulations for the protection of such visitors? Is the international community vigilant enough of the hindrances that tourists may face in their normal course of travel?

Safety Aspects

A tourist may face multiple dangers when they are out of their homeland. While the solutions to many of them depend on the individual efforts of the tourists, there are many other aspects that require the governing from the state where the tourists are travelling. 

Tourism is connected with various aspects of safety namely:

  • Flight safety, travel routes and means 
  • Possibilities of pickpocketing, luggage theft, scams 
  • Discriminatory protocols on the basis of nationality, ethnicity and other factors
  • Dangers of harassment, assaults and bullying
  • Food safety
  • Mishaps during adventure and recreational activities
  • Fair trial practices for foreign offenders 

International Framework

The United Nations Organisation directs its concern towards responsible and universally accessible tourism through its specialised agency The World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO). The major efforts exhibited under this organisation are:

  • The Global Code of Ethics (1999)
  • Framework Convention on Tourism Ethics (2019)
  • International Code for the Protection of Tourists (2020)
  • Recommended Measures for Tourism Safety (1991) 
  • Creating Tourism Opportunities for Handicapped People in the Nineties (1991) 
  • Health Information and Formalities in International Travel (1993)
  • Travellers’ Health Abroad (1991)
  • WTO’s handbook Sustainable Tourism Development: A Guide For Local Planners (1993)
  • Handbook on Natural Disaster Reduction in Tourist Areas (1995)
  • WTO Indicators for Tourism and the Environment (1995)

National Legislation

A few nations have been successful in recognising the need to address tourist safety in their legal frameworks:

  • USA: The White House Conference on Travel and Tourism (30-31 October, 1995) adopted Tourist Safety and Security as one of the top ten priorities in the National Tourism Strategy. 
  • Tunisia: A plan of action named ‘Holidays and Security’ is in operation that provides for coordination with tourists, prevention of accidents, security on the beaches and hotel.
  • Vietnam: The Law on Tourism has provisions against harassment, abuses and illicit profit-making from the tourists. It further places responsibility on the guides, individuals engaged in tourist transportation and related organisation to be responsible for the health and safety of the tourists including the provision for their insurance.
  • Zambia: The Tourism and Hospitality Act 2016 makes the operator of any tourism enterprise accountable to take sufficient safety and security measures for tourists.
  • Spain (Valencia):The Law number 15 of 2018 adopted by the regional government of Valencia ensures compliance of tourism establishments with safety measures for tourists and of the criteria to inform about services with potential risk. The law also provides for complaint procedures and extralegal resolutions.
  • India: A Code of Conduct for Safe and Honourable Tourism was adopted 1st July 2010 and is timely modified. It encourages respect for the basic rights of safety and dignity of tourists and freedom from exploitation. 

Nepalese Legislation

Nepal has the Nepal Tourism Board as a dedicated body for the promotion and development of the tourism sector, which was formed under the Nepal Tourism Board Act 2053. It has included ‘special arrangements for the security of tourists’ as one of the duties of the Board.

Tourism Act has been in place since the year 2035.The Act does impose certain standards on the hotel, restaurant, lodge, bar, etc with respect to tourists and also imposes certain restrictions on the Tour Guides. It prohibits the indulgence of tourists in touristy activities like rafting, trekking, etc. without the permission of the Government of Nepal.

Apart from these, Nepal and its laws lack detailed instructions and steps for providing tourists enough security.

Suggestions and Conclusion

The tourism laws must be furnished with provisions for education and training to travel employees, partnerships of private and public sectors, facilitation in prosecution of offenders, and overall security within the tourism industry.

It is the responsibility of the national governments to ensure that the tourists who contribute to the rise of their national economies are not violated and amply protected with the laws framed in a way that does not prefer wrongs of the nationals against the visiting tourists to go unnoticed or excused. The dangers that a tourist may be subjected to in their country must be assessed extensively so that suitable provisions may be enacted.

Suggested Caption: It is the responsibility of the national governments to ensure that the tourists who contribute to the rise of their national economies are not violated.

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