UNWTO Secretary-General Dr Taleb Rifai and QTA Chairman Issa Al Mohannadi with hotel officials and tour operators after signing the UNWTO Global Code of Ethics for Tourism yesterday. Salim Matramkot
DOHA: Twenty-four companies from the tourism industry in Qatar have signed commitment to Global Code of Ethics for Tourism for a responsible and sustainable tourism development.
The signing was held on Monday in the presence of Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) Chairman Issa bin Mohammed Al Mohannadi and UNWTO Secretary-General, Dr Taleb Rifai.
Over a billion people crossed borders in 2012 and even more in 2013, and with this exponential growth in tourism come responsibilities, said Dr Rifai.
“UNWTO’s Global Code of Ethics for Tourism is a guide that outlines our responsibilities towards our society, culture, and environment,” he said. “In September 2012, we started a global campaign in Madrid to encourage private sector companies to sign and commit themselves to this document. Since then 254 companies and associations from 32 countries have signed it.”
Qatar is one of the first in the region to sign the code which saw support from the government and private sectors, said Al Mohannadi.
“This demonstrates the collaborative nature of our tourism sector to develop the industry. The code aims at helping minimise the negative impact of tourism on the environment and cultural heritage and maximise benefits of tourism destinations for residents.”
The signing comes as a result of QTA’s campaign over the past months urging tourism stakeholders to sign the code as part of joint initiatives with the UNWTO. Widespread endorsement of the code is essential to ensure the Qatari tourism sector meets the highest international standards and offers world class products and services.
“The private sector must be involved in the development process towards a sustainable tourism sector,” he said, adding QTA has been in collaboration with private industry and government stakeholders.
The code, he said, is an effort to implement QTA’s tourism goals in line with global best practices. “Response to the code has been impressive. This makes us a leader in responsible tourism development, sending the message that Qatar is not compromising its environmental and cultural heritage in developing its tourism sector,” said Al Mohannadi.
Qatar ranks second in the region in terms of the number of responses for the code from the private sector. Another signing will be held for other companies which expressed interest in the code.
The code is UNWTO’s core policy document that serves as a blueprint for the development of sustainable tourism. It was adopted in 1999 by the UNWTO General Assembly and endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly in 2001.