Protection of Tourist Rights: International Tourism

The Protection of Tourist Rights: International Tourism

This article on ‘The aspects of the protection of tourist rights in the field of international tourism‘ was written by Amruta Patil, an intern at Legal Upanishad.


An important contributor to the economic growth of many countries has been tourism. With the help of globalization, there has been a significant boon in the traveling industry. While initially tourism was restricted to just within the border.

With the parameters of traveling being extended worldwide, interdependence and interconnection among various countries in pursuit of a better economy are rising.

For until the pandemic in 2019, the tourism sector made up a whopping 10% of the global GDP. It has been crucial in the nation’s overall development.

A significant source of income and a source of new jobs is tourism. Travel restrictions can have a significant negative impact on the nation’s economy, as testing times have already shown.

It is hence crucial to have a system that protects the rights of the people traveling in the international field.

The following article discusses the aspects of protecting tourist right in the field of international tourism.

What is an International Tourism?

Travel for business or pleasure across borders is referred to as international tourism. Tourism is defined by the World Tourism Organization (WTO) as “people traveling to and staying in places beyond their typical surroundings for up to one year continuously for pleasure and up to 24 hours continuously for business and other purposes.”

The past two years have soon us how important the tourism industry is which contributes to the nation’s economic growth.

Due to the COVID19 outbreak, there were huge restrictions were placed on tours and tourism and it resulted in a blow to the economic sector.

With the borders reopening and the economy on the road to recovery, it’s important to have a legal framework that deals with an aspect such as the protection of tourist rights in the international field.

Who is an international tourist?

A person who visits a country other than his own for some time that does not exceed a year, whose primary reason for travel is business or pleasure, who is not paid while in the destination country, and who spends at least one night there.

What are the rights of a tourist?

People didn’t go very far in the early days of travel and tourism. Unless they were exceptionally wealthy, people seldom ever traveled to another continent; instead, they would visit a nearby town or state. Today’s travelers can be seen traveling all over the place. People go across oceans for scenery-only vacations and destination weddings, respectively.

Now with so much traveling, one does need a system that would govern the transactions, rights, and liabilities of the tourism industry.

The following paragraphs discuss what are the codes and conventions being placed to safeguard tourist rights.

UNWTO-United Nations World Tourism Organization

Before the UNWTO came into existence, there were other organizations under the UN dealing with the aspects of tourism. Although having a short-lived existence they contributed to the making of what is today known as the UNWTO.

A list of events that led to what is known as the UNWTO over the years is given below

They are-

  • The International Congress of Official Tourist Traffic Associations was set up in 1925 in Hague, Netherlands.
  • The International Union of Official Tourist Propaganda Organization was created and renamed the International Union of Official Travel Organisation in Geneva after the second world war to help in the promotion of tourism.
  • In the year 1967, the UN declared the year to be International Tourist Year with the slogan –Tourism, Passport to Peace.
  • Following the same footsteps, the IUOTO special General Assembly was held in Mexico where the Principles of the WTO were adopted on the 27th of September 1970 with the first general assembly held in Spain in May 1975 and commemorate the adoption, the day to be celebrated as World Tourism Day from 1980.

To avoid any confusion with the World Trade Organisation a.k.a WTO, United Nation was added to World Tourism Organisation which came to be known as UNWTO.

Aims and objectives-

The UNTWO which a specific organization that is responsible for sustainable tourism and contributes to economic as well as environmental growth to spread the knowledge of tourism on a global scale.

A few aims and objectives of the organization are discussed below

  • It aims in equalizing economic opportunities
  • It helps in developing the destination
  • It promotes the implementation of the Global Code for ethics of travel and tourism
  • Creating awareness about the inter-cultural equations among the member-states

A few aims and objectives are discussed, the organization aims to develop peace, and prosperity with respect for rights while fostering economic growth and protection of the cultural heritage.

 Protection of Tourist Rights: International Tourism
Protection of Tourist Rights: International Tourism

ICPT-International Code For the Protection of the Tourist

An initiative by the WTO, with the aim of reinstalling the trust and confidence of the tourist in international travel the International Code for Protection of the Tourist, was launched.

The code was approved at the 24th UNWTO General Assembly which was held in Madrid Spain

It is a regulatory framework that guarantees a minimum standard of protection for international tourists.

The  ICPT has five chapters that discuss various aspects of rights and disputes regarding tourist rights.

It lays down a minimum standard of protection. A few principles are discussed as follows-


The code has seven principles that are enforced in an emergency. Some of them are as follows

  • Harmonization- it is with an aim to have a common approach regarding the assistance to the tourist regardless of nationality, race, color, etc.
  • Cooperation and coordination-assisting the tourist in crisis is one of the key aspects of the code.
  • Responsibility-  the tourist organizer and public authorities of the host country are to provide the tourist with the right information as well as safety and security based on the gravity of the crisis.
  • Prevention-it aims to establish an effective yet efficient mechanism that helps the management of services in emergencies
  • Contingency plans and prevention measures for the tourists.
  • Designated authorities would help in coordinating the protocols and preventive measures for the tourist.
  • Measures to simplify the process and procedure for the tourist.
  • Information-
  • Updates regarding travel information, restriction, and other practical information in multiple languages.
  • Assistance-
  • To help the tourist with communication, alternate travel arrangement, accommodation, etc to be provided with
  • Repatriation
  • To make sure that the hosting countries would take the necessary measures for the repatriation of the tourist to their country of origin in the same manner as to citizens o their own country.


The recent situation has made us realize the importance of having a structured legal framework which is can be implemented in tourist rights. Travel, cultural interactions, and job development are all part of tourism. To achieve these objectives, responsible tourism works to conserve tourist destinations and promote sustainable growth for both the hosts of today and future generations of tourists and hosts.


  1. Catherine Mack “Is travel a right -the concept of right & when it’s just wrong ”
  2. “Fostering a whole-of-Government Approach in Tourism”
  3. “International Travel: Tourism and Sustainable Development Law: A Handbook”
  4. “International Code for the Protection of Tourists”
  5. “History”
  6. Saghira “UNWTO Full Form: Formation, Objective, Work, etc”
  8. Published on 17th March 2021 “International Code For the Protection of Tourists”