TREN Lecture # 23/24 March 20/April 2
X) The Ethical Imperative
• Tourism ethics
• Case: Sex tourism
• Responsible tourism
• Case: Slum tourism
Tourism is the ultimate act of freedom
we often leave our ‘clock’ at home and act differently
change our attitudes
a break from our life at home
the ability to transcend one’s normal everyday life
Temporally (in time) and spatially (in space)
Behaviorally ….. …In the pursuit of hedonistic ends
Value for money, relaxation, not having to take responsibility for someone or something.
A ‘good’ vacation is that which satisfies these hedonistic ends.
But tourism often suspends morality…
Emphasizes the value of one over the value of others.
A by-product of this is innumerable costs…externalities (impacts).
Costs are difficult to mitigate
Economic theory tells us that incentives to ignore externalities are quite strong.
It is rational to impose costs on third parties…
If this contributes to the satisfaction of our own self-interest.
Tourism is really no different as an expression of human nature
• ‘If, as we are led to believe, tourism is the world’s largest industry, then we should remember it
is a world driven largely by avarice, greed, self-interest… We need, therefore, to look first at
ourselves and then at society when we address tourism’ (Wheeller, 2004: 471).
We are out for ourselves. It is a question of what is best for me and if someone…else pays the
cost, then too bad as long as I get the benefits… isn’t this Darwin’s survival of the fittest?
(Wheeller, 1994: 648).
But have we really looked at ourselves in trying to understand tourist motives?
To do so necessitates going deeper into the realm of human nature…who we are at
the very coreThe Evolution of Morality: Reciprocal Altruism (Robert Trivers, 1971)
a very important evolutionary biologist
Humans up until the last 5 seconds of a 24-hour evolutionary clock lived in small, stable,
Cooperation only through repeated interaction over time
Trivers recognized that natural selection favors…
Sensitivity to injustice = motivate human aggression.
Sensitivity to costs and benefits of altruistic acts.
Detection of cheaters.
Making cheaters pay by cutting them off from future acts of aid.
Guilt and reparative gestures.
Forming norms of reciprocal conduct...rules of exchange.
Performing altruistic acts to strangers in inducing friendship.
RA is said to be the basis of…
Barter (Wilson, 2000).
The prisoner’s dilemma & tragedy of the commons (Ridley,1998).
Ethics hammered out over eons (Mayr, 1988)
The demands of reciprocal altruism can explain why the social and moralistic emotions
evolved. Sympathy and trust prompt people to extend the first favor. Gratitude and loyalty prompt
them to repay favors. Guilt and shame deter them from failing to repay others. Anger and
contempt prompt them to avoid or punish cheaters (Pinker, 2002: 243).
What RA means to tourism…
• If RA is a form of cooperation based on mutual benefit over time, cooperation should not take
place in tourism.
• No time to build cooperation
• The need to increase our own well-being at expense of others.
• Rational to cheat—never see the tourist again (**necklace story).
At the broad scale
The cumulative impact of cheating over time in a region.
Doxey (1975): euphoria to hostility…
At any given destination, there exists reciprocating impacts between outsiders and residents,
and that the extent to which these are regarded as irritations will be determined in the main by the
mutual compatibility of each, with the assumption that even with compatible groups, sheernumbers may well prove itself a source of incompatibility, with color, culture, and nationality
presently appearing as secondary (p. 197).
All-inclusives: Little motivation to act altruistically towards tourists who are high in volume
and short on stay.
– We cheat tourists (e.g., cheaper rooms) because employees realise few direct benefits.
Senior management cheats tourists because there is no emotional bond established…
– We are OK selling packages to the most beleaguered destinations on the planet, never
knowing our role in the social/ecological demise of the region.
– No shared memory.
Ethics: the rules, standards and principles that dictate right, good and authentic conduct among
members of a society or profession.
Morality is the rational and natural inclination of humanity to do good and avoid evil (e.g.,
preserving life, forming an ordered society).
Ethics comes from this morality.
The extent of ethics in tourism is a function of (i) voluntary codes of ethics, (ii) non-voluntary
regulations, and (iii) certification schemes.
(ii) Non-voluntary regulations:
‘Big stick’ or ‘command and control’
Licenses and permits.
(iii) certification in tourism.
• Designed to improve standards, professionalism, and quality.
• Use of the ecolabel.
Case: Sex Tourism
Traveling to a foreign country with the intent to engage in sexual activity with a child younger
than the age of 18.
• Cambodia: 1995, girls 13 to 17 comprised 31% of sex workers.
• China: 1994, 10,000 women and children abducted and sold each year in Sichaun alone.
• Costa Rica: Children regularly sold to foreign pedophiles as part of sex-tour packages.
• India: 1995, 20% of Bombay's brothel population composed of girls younger than 18, at least
half of whom were HIV positive.
• Sri Lanka: 100,000 children between 6 and 14 are kept in brothels.
• Taiwan: 100,000 children in the sex industry.
UNICEF says over 1 million children in the sex trade in 1997.
Most in Asia and most women.
32 countries have extraterritorial laws that allow the prosecution of their citizens for CST
crimes.• UNWTO Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation in Travel and
Tourism in 1999. As of June 2005, 200 travel companies from 21 countries had signed the code
Children continue to be victimized by sexual predators for many reasons:
Lack of child-protection laws in foreign countries
Low risk of detection
Female Romance Tourism
Travel by women, for the purpose of having sex.
The practice differs from male sex tourism
Women do not typically use the structures of the sex industry, e.g., strip clubs, sex shows and
organized tours) to meet foreign partners.
Women's trips may be referred to as "romance tourism."
They typically involve sex with locals from the holiday destination country, as opposed to with
other tourists, possibly from their own country (a holiday fling).
At the heart of sex tourism is power, control, & exploitation
Fueled by a corrupt industry.
Tour agents who sell packages
Hotels allow men to solicit in their bars.
Sex tourism is not ethically acceptable because…
We treat people as a means to our own selfish ends.
We reduce net social benefits and increase costs (family dislocation)