MP calls for holiday brochures to contain human rights info
The head of the German parliament's tourism committee has called for holiday brochures to contain information about the human rights situation in the countries being advertised, although he rejected the idea of boycotts.
Christian Democratic MP Klaus Brähming said that the committee was currently discussing whether it made sense to go on holiday to countries ruled by a dictatorial regime.
“I am calling for travel catalogues to voluntarily inform on how a country, among other things, deals with human rights. Positive situations will thus be rewarded. I don’t believe in boycotts,” Brähming told Die Welt newspaper.
“It was only with hindsight that one saw what a corrupt system the former Tunisian president Ben Ali had installed in his country. In the tourism branch business had been conducted above all with the large companies.
“After the Jasmine revolution smaller tourism firms are now coming up in tourism. That creates new jobs on the ground and strengthens the economy of the country. In this respect tourism is always political.”
He said holiday makers had a great ethical responsibility. “With the decision to travel to Tunisia, they give the country and its people better prospects. Of course it is important that the tour company includes the people on the ground, train the staff and above all, use products from the region. That creates value on the ground. Why must a hotel in South Africa serve butter from Denmark?”
Those on holiday should be able to enjoy their time abroad – in good conscience, he said.
“What kind of a feeling is it to drink a cocktail under the palm trees in a posh hotel when people outside are not living in freedom? I personally would have a problem with that. As an East German I experienced a dictatorship and would like now to change something with tourism,” he said.
Supporting, or even forcing change using the power of the tourism dollar has been shown to work, he said.
“25 years ago it was a pioneering effort to demand environmental standards in holiday resorts. Today it goes without saying, and benefits the people on the ground. This is how it should also be with the build-up of democratic structures.”