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Tourism growth linked with ethics is key to the sector’s ability to thrive

Angelica Mkok

Head of Social Responsibility, Amadeus IT Group

Beyond this impressive progress, there is also an ethical and social dimension, which relates directly to the travel and tourism sector’s ability to grow in a sustainable manner. Sustainability, accountability and shared responsibility must be at the core of the industry to manage the challenges that come along with this exponential growth.

“For a long time, tourism has been about numbers.”

These words, spoken recently by the chairperson of the World Committee on Tourism Ethics and Former Director-General of the World Trade Organization, Pascal Lamy, referred to the often-quoted millions of travellers that cross international borders each year, the contribution of the sector to world GDP or the proportion of jobs it supports. In 2016, according to the UNWTO, these were 1.2 billion international arrivals, 10% of world GDP and 1 out of every 11 jobs, respectively.

Amadeus is in an exceptional position to contribute to the ethical business and social dimensions, which I was happy to discuss in April at the 3rd International Congress on Ethics in Tourism.

Amadeus strives to incorporate responsible practices and sound principles of sustainability in its business across the globe. In the first place is self-regulation, through the Amadeus Code of Ethics and Business Conduct . This internal code binds and guides us to adhere to the very highest ethical standards in corporate governance, social responsibility, and environmental sustainability. Furthermore, since 2011, Amadeus is a signatory of the UNWTO-led Global Code of Ethics for Tourism .

So how does a B2B travel technology provider with no direct contact with travellers internalise these guiding principles? Here are some examples:

  1. Technology innovation as a priority, coupled with responsible, research and development in seven geographic regions, help us to understand and respond effectively to the varying needs of travel and tourism businesses across the globe. Since 2004, Amadeus has invested €4 billion in research and development.
  2. Our global footprint in over 190 countries has helped us build a diverse and gender inclusive workforce of over 123 nationalities. With this, we harness local opportunities better, ensure robust global operations and engage professionals with a wide range of expertise and international culture.
  3. A global Corporate Social Responsibility programme, through which we materialise our commitment to social advancement and environmental sustainability. As part of this social responsibility , Amadeus collaborates yearly with over 100 social stakeholders. Two examples of this are the global online donation platform powered by Amadeus, that drives the Click for Change travel industry campaign to fund projects that reduce social inequalities, and a social innovation project drawing on travel data and analytics, to improve response and preparedness of humanitarian actors in global crises.

Leading sustainability indices recognise our sound business practices. Recognition by the Dow Jones Sustainability Index - for the fifth consecutive year - or the FTSE4Good, are evidence of this. Today we are the only travel and technology company recognised by the DJSI, which tracks the performance of the world's leading companies in the economic, environmental and social dimensions.

It is our ambition to continue to meet the rising standards in responsible and sustainable business practice, within global travel and tourism. Following Global Reporting Initiative standards, Amadeus’ Global Report reflects this each year.


Tags

Environmental Sustainability, Social Responsibility