About Tourism Watch

Tourism – Development requires fairness and participation

Tourism to countries of the Global South serves as an important bridge between people in Europe and local people there. It can generate economic and social momentum, but does not always benefit the local population. Global corporate structures and widespread corruption lead to profits being diverted to other countries or into the hands of powerful local elites. Jobs are urgently needed in many places, but many of these jobs are precarious and often merely seasonal. Infrastructural developments such as airports benefit tourists, but rarely benefit the local population.

That’s why Tourism Watch, a policy desk at Bread for the World, and Ecumenical partners from all around the globe work for sustainable, socially responsible and environmentally friendly tourism. We are convinced that the vision of a fair and peaceful world without poverty is possible only on condition that a fundamental transformation in tourism is achieved.

Three principles are fundamental to sustainable development through tourism:

  • Human rights and the self-determination of communities must be at the core of any tourism development.
  • The economic and social benefits must be distributed in a fair manner in order to increase prosperity and the quality of life in destinations.
  • Tourism should be a positive and meaningful experience for both tourists and hosts.

What we do

Dedicated to human rights and social standards

We work for the consistent application of a human rights approach in tourism that has a central focus on the interests and needs of local people and we are committed to strengthening the social and cultural dimensions of sustainability in tourism. We establish our own discussion and dialogue formats with relevant policy makers and tourism managers in Germany and internationally. Furthermore, we participate in selected dialogue fora with politicians and industry representatives that are aimed at making tourism responsible and sustainable.

  • Roundtable Human Rights in Tourism: Tourism Watch is a member of the board of this international non-profit multi-stakeholder initiative.
  • Working group on child protection set up by the German Travel Association (DRV): Tourism Watch accompanies DRV’s implementation of the Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children from Commercial Sexual Exploitation in Travel and Tourism.
  • National and federal states’ working group of the German Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ) on the protection of children and youths from sexual violence and exploitation
  • TourCert: Tourism Watch is a member of the certification council. Together with other independent organisations we establish the criteria for certification and decide on the tour operators to be given the label.
  • Sector dialogue on tourism organised by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development: As a non-governmental organisation, Tourism Watch advocates social justice and a rights based approach in the sector dialogue.

Strengthening of and networking among civil society in the Global South and in European sending countries

We support non-governmental organisations in the Global South by giving them the possibility of more in-depth exchange with other organisations during South/South and South/North events or of personally raising their concerns at international conferences.
We closely network with non-governmental organisations in European sending countries and can make use of synergies, support each other’s working processes, and jointly gain strength.

International initiative Transforming Tourism
Tourism Watch as part of networks

Raising awareness among tourists for responsible and encounter-oriented tourism

We provide advice on fair travel and encourage tourists to look behind the touristic scenes. Responsible tourism can be a positive and meaningful experience for both tourists and hosts, promoting mutual understanding, empathy, and respect.

One Planet Guide - Inspirierende Tipps für faires Reisen
Fair Tourism – A matter of heart and mind
Sympathiemagazine (booklets focussing on specific countries or themes)

Substantiated PR and press work

In our Tourism Watch newsletter we help voices from tourist destinations to be heard, highlight recent publications and events, and place development discussions in tourism in a larger context. The Tourism Watch is published every two to three months. Furthermore, we bring out our own specialised publications and write articles for development magazines. We are available to journalists and authors for interviews and background discussions.

TourismWatch newsletter
Media library
For the press