THE Accor Group of Hotels in Fiji and New Zealand has registered as signatory to the global responsible tourism code of conduct known as The Code to fight against the exploitation of children.
Registering through ECPAT Child Alert (End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes), Accor in the two countries has committed its organisations to meet the requirement of The Code to protect children from sexual exploitation through tourism.
ECPAT Child ALERT is a registered charitable trust working to prevent the sexual exploitation of children.
At a meeting of hotel managers in Auckland, Accor Fiji and New Zealand vice president Paul Richardson said their commitment would result in the training of staff, monitoring and reporting, as well as the raising of guest awareness.
"They now join almost 1000 members from the tourist industry around the world in 42 countries who have adopted this corporate social responsibility," Mr Richardson said in a report on the New Zealand-based news web portal Voxy.
He said the group had signed the code in more than 40 countries, and within the framework of its sustainable development policy and its Earth Guest Program, Accor was committed to help combat child-sex tourism.
ECPAT Child Alert director Alan Bell acknowledged Accor's membership and hoped others in the travel and tourism industry would also demonstrate their support by becoming signatories.
"This is a responsible and timely move by a major international organisation to add this dimension of corporate responsibility to their already fine record of setting high professional and social standards in their business operations," Mr Bell said.
He said the sexual abuse of children associated with the travel and tourism industry was a global phenomenon known as Child Sex Tourism (CST) and resulted in children being exploited by travellers in many tourist destinations.
Mr Bell added the abuse included all forms of sexual exploitation, including prostitution, pornography and trafficking.
"New Zealand is fortunate that law enforcement exercised by the police, customs and Internal Affairs monitors and enforces the law to a degree that we do not experience child sex tourism to the same degree as some other countries.
"However, it is wise to be proactive and to be alert to the risks as we are not exempt from this sort of child abuse."