G Adventures, became the first global travel company to be ChildSafe Certified in recognition of the work that has be undertaken with its non-profit partner, Planeterra, to raise awareness of child welfare in the tourism industry.
This comes after the June launch of a new set of child welfare guidelines (compiled by ChildSafe Movement, G Adventures and Planeterra) and will be followed by a new awareness-building consumer-facing campaign which will launch on November 20, UNICEF World Children’s Day. The guidelines are the latest in G Adventures’ ‘G for Good’ suite of initiatives, which are designed to help people travel better, and complement guidelines for protecting wildlife, and Indigenous people and cultures.
Sometimes good intentions hurt
The new child welfare campaign aims to open the eyes of travellers who are well-intentioned, but don’t realize that what they believe is helpful behaviour, such as visiting schools and taking selfies with children, can actually be harmful. It is accompanied by a shareable video which reinforces the message “if you wouldn’t do it here, don’t do it anywhere” with regards to interacting with children while travelling.
Jamie Sweeting, vice president of social enterprise and responsible travel at G Adventures, says the new guidelines are designed to encourage travel companies to do more, and to educate travellers, who often believe they are doing the right thing when interacting with children, to act responsibly.
“As a travel company we want to make sure we’re doing the best we can and these guidelines are helping us make appropriate changes internally," Sweeting said. "We’ve swept our digital assets and owned channels to ensure all our media complies, and have removed all school classroom visits from our itineraries and have launched an internal training program for all office and field staff."
Leading the way for others
G Adventures is also encouraging other businesses in the travel industry to adopt its Child Welfare and the Travel Industry: Global Good Practice Guidelines. A wide range of contributors provided their expertise and insights including the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), who welcomed their introduction.
Companies keen to adopt the guidelines should visit this link. The G Adventures Child Welfare Guidelines can be downloaded here and are the latest in G Adventures’ ‘suite’ of responsible travel guidelines, joining Animal Welfare and Responsible Travel with Indigenous People, which were launched in 2015 and 2017 respectively.