INDONESIAN President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono wants ASEAN to lead the implementation of the UNWTO's Global Code of Ethics for Tourism.
Speaking at the opening of the Bali Arts Festival last weekend, he said: "As chairman of ASEAN, I would like ASEAN to be the leader in the implementation of the code."
The code calls for travel industry players to “minimise the negative impacts of tourism on the environment and on cultural heritage, while maximizing the benefits for residents of tourism destinations”.
World Committee on Tourism Ethics chairman, David de Villiers, said ethical standards in tourism were important, because economic benefits alone would be insufficient to keep the industry sustainable in the long term.
"We are living in a world of highly complex and inter-connected issues, like the economic situation in Europe, worldwide currency volatility, and increasing unemployment. The more uncertainties and the more challenges we are facing, the more important ethics become," he said.
Yudhoyono said that with Asia-Pacific recording the fastest tourism rebound following the global economic crisis, it was crucial to implement the code to balance the needs of the economy, people's welfare, human rights and sustainable environment.
Commenting on this, World Committee on Tourism Ethics member and Indonesia’s former minister for Culture and Tourism, I Gede Ardika, said: "What is implied in the president's speech is that Indonesia must set an example for the rest to follow.”
"The first thing we will do is set up a supporting secretariat to develop programmes for the implementation here."
Ardika added that the secretariat would comprise of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, tourism industry members, and related NGOs.