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Unit 8 Legislation and Ethics in TT Sector Assignment
Diploma in Travel and Tourism Management
Unit Number and Title
Unit 8 Legislation and Ethics in the Travel and Tourism Sector
The UK Travel and Tourism Sector has become one of the key sectors in the country as it generates a substantial income and contributes to the overall gross domestic product of the country. The United Kingdom Government has been very particular in the recent past about the effective handling of the travel and tourism sector in the country which includes effective implementation of legislation and ensuring ethical practice in the travel and tourism business. It could be said that the UK travel and tourism companies has to conform to the legislative framework laid down by the government in order to ensure smooth running of the operations. It has always been a strong question that how does ethics or ethical practice contributes to the business and the present study will take an opportunity to discuss just that. The latest commandments on job privileges, rivalry fair trade practices have been taken into consideration by the UK government which helps to assess different aspects of the ethical and legislative framework of the travel and tourism industry UK (Medlik, 2012).
The present study will try to demystify the exact impact of the legislative and ethical framework on the travel and tourism sector of UK with the help of different case scenarios provided in the assignment. There are number of legislations and ethical issue which the travel and tourism operators in the country will have to abide by and this will help to achieve the objectives of the study successfully. As it is known that the tourism laws involve all the key stakeholders involved in thetourism industry of the country hence, it will take them into account while the discussion is on, in order to ensure that no stone is kept unturned to complete the study successfully and hence the role of stakeholders like travel organisations, Airports, and consumers will be involved in the discussion.
Task 1 Legal and Regulatory Framework in Travel and Tourism Sector
1A) Complexity of legal and regulatory system of UK Travel and Tourism Industry
The legal and regulatory framework of the UK travel and tourism sector helps the government to handle the different travel and tourism organisations in the country effectively as well as helps to handle their operations by laying down key ethical principles and legal frameworks. The ethical framework of the organisation and the legal framework help to eliminate the ethical dilemmas faced by the different travel and tourism organisations operating in the country and helps to ensure effective service provisions. The travel and tourism consumers nowadays make their decisions assiduously by taking into consideration a number of aspects which makes the tourism market highly aware and competitive and hence it is important for the travel and tourism organisations to develop a strong framework which would help to ensure proper service provisions. The government of UK has laid down these legal and regulatory frameworks so that the consumers are not misled or fall prey to any kind of illegal activities as happened in the second scenario where Betty and Steve did not receive what they were offered which clearly shows the unethical practice of the travel and tourism company they were dealing with (Inhorn & Patrizio, 2009). The tourism industry involves number of key stakeholders who needs to work together in order to operate the industry in a smooth manner and hence in case anyone of the involved entities fail to operate ethically the ecosystem breaks and hence in order to prevent such ethical things happening in the industry the Government of UK has enforced several legal and regulatory frameworks which helps both the entities dealing with business namely consumers and the travel and tourism companies (Donyadide, 2010). The key legislations that fit together to form an effective travel and tourism system in the country are given below:
Development of Tourism Act 1969: This act was set up by the British Tourist Authority which focuses on the coordination of all the relevant bodies involved intravel and tourism to work together for providing a better experience for the tourists. This has a positive impact on the experience of the consumers as it will help to connect the different bodies like the travel operators, the hotels and the transport companies to coordinate and provide the consumers with the best possible experience. It is a framework that is systematic in nature which ensures effective operation of all the bodies involved in the provision of travel and tourism service. For example in the first scenario where Mr. and Mrs. Jones booked a summer holiday to Portugal has been promised to receive a systematic service where they will be provided with a travel package to Portugal at a price of 1200 pounds and in this they will not only receive accommodation and flight services but will also be picked up by the coach outside the airport which is a perfect example of synchronised service provision to the consumers (Buhalis & Darcy, 2011).
Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tour Regulations 1992: This is an important legislation that focuses on giving more responsibilities to the tour operators to handle the consumers effectively and provide all kinds of facilities and remedies available for the consumers. Every operator operating in the UK will have to abide by this legislation in order to ensure smooth and effective experience for the consumers. This has not been properly abided by the company who has done the overall package deal for the Betty and Steve as they were not provided with any of the promised services. In this case there has been clear negligence of duty of the hotel and the flight services and transport (Delmonico, 2009). Even though the couple was promised to get all the possible services they did not get any of the promised services which clearly show that the tour operator did not communicate effectively with other bodies which led to the defamation of the tourist destination that is Caribbean Island. Clearly the companies here did not coordinate effectively with the overseas resorts and the transport services that have threatened the health and safety of the couple which is an effective regulatory framework included in the travel and tourism legislation (Balan ET AL., 2009). In this case the companies did not focus on developing the legacy of the tourist destination and were clearly not ethical with their practice. As the flight has been ten hours late it is clearly a breach of condition in the package and there were no sea views and dusty apartment which breaches the basic promises of accommodation and even food is not what they promised that is unavailability of A La Carte meal which clearly breaches the contract and hence the company would be liable to be sued. Even in the first scenario if the company fails to provide transport from the airport or late pickup and the brochure make false promises as per the law the company will have to face legal implications as they have not been able to fulfill the promises made which is the main consideration of the contract made (Morrison, 20130.
Consumer Protection from unfair Trading Regulations Act 2008: This is an important legislation which protects consumers from falling prey to unfair trading regulations that can harm the consumers directly of money and emotions. In the first scenario Mr. and Mrs. Jones have received a brochure where they were offered a package to Portugal only for an amount of 1200 pounds which is below the industry pricing standard and hence as per the law this is clearly and unfair trade practice as the other companies would be deprived of sales for this, as well as in case the couple is not provided with the promised services as per the law the consumers could sue the business. In scenario 2 the Betty and Steve were not provided seaside rooms with view, golf course were not up to the mark even they paid extra and moved out which is clearly a breach in contract and is liable to punished for that (MacCannell, 2011).
The health and safety commission is one of the key regulatory frameworks which has not been implemented in the case of Steve and Betty as they were not pickup by the travel organiser and they had to come in a decrepit taxi which could have been lethal for the tourists, along with that the food was not good in the Hotel and it was too dusty which was the responsibility of the company to organise properly.
The international Air Transport Association is a regulatory body which helps to establish policies and standards in the tourism sector which was not effectively handled in the scenario 2 where the flight was late for almost ten hours which is not standard practice (Snyder & Crooks, 2012).
1B) Application of transport law in the legal and regulatory framework
There are various kinds of transport means and hence transport law is extremely important to be followed by the stakeholders involved in the travel and tourism industry.
Air Law: The air law involves different regulations. The Warsaw Convention of 1929 lays down the basic principles of regarding the transportation in a carriage. This air law focuses on helping the consumers to charge for any kind of personal injury or luggage problems. It also states that the airports and aviation companies are responsible to check the luggage of consumers before the commencement of the journey and ensure security. For example in the second scenario the flight of the passengers was ten hours late and it was important for the flight service to be more responsible which clearly breached the law of being standard in the service. Even in scenario 1 the promise of providing effective flight services has to be kept as this is one of main conditions of the service (Walker & Walker, 2012).
Surface Law:The international passenger carriage by road Act 1979 governs the surface transport. It mainly formulates the safety and security of the passengers going by road. In scenario 2 this was not the case as the company with which the Jones had a deal with didn’t come to pick them up and this led to their journey in an decrepit taxi which could have faced any fatal incident any moment and this clearly shows that in this scenario the transport law was not integrated effectively. On the other hand in scenario 1 the couple has been promised transport from the airport it will have to abide by the surface law (Brotherton, 2012).
Task 2 Legislation and Regulation related to security, safety and Health in Travel and Tourism Sector
2A) Health Safety and security legislation in relation to travel and tourism sector
Health and safety and security legislation is extremely important in the travel and tourism sector. The main health and safety regulation is Health and Safety Act 1974. This mainly deals with the health and safety of people working in a particular place and from the point of view of the travel and tourism sector also for the consumers. This clearly states that employees and employer will have to act together to ensure health and safety at the workplace. This is put in place so that the both employees and employers are able to understand the importance of health and safety and accordingly take actions to safeguard health of the people in a workplace. Common regulations say that it is important for the employer to be responsible and safeguard the health and safety interest of the employees. On the other hand the Occupiers liability Act 1957 states that the occupier is under obligation to safeguard and provide security for the visitors who visits his or her land and the revised act in 1984 also includes anyone and everyone visiting the land other than the visitors as the obligation to safeguard their health and provide security (Sloan et al., 2013). These legislations were made in order to make the occupiers much more responsible to handle consumers in travel and tourism. Both the HSW 1974 and OLA 57 and 84 are effective and have positive and negative impacts and they are:
- Both the legislations make health and safety a priority.
- Both of them make risk assessment mandatory and easier.
- Taking effective steps have been first priority for employers and occupiers to abide by these legislations.
- It made the companies more professional.
- They are naturally very lengthy
- Not easy to apply them in all kinds of situations as there are exceptions
- The thought of being vulnerable to these legislations affect the overall business approach.
Overall it could be said that even though both the legislations have few negative effects but they are very effective in ensuring safety to consumers as well as helps the companies to conform to the laid legislations which helps to contribute to the growth of the business legally. For instance effective fire assessment test is done as stated in the HSW 1974 which helps to keep the fire status of the companies clean. Risk assessment is another mandatory aspect which helps to eliminate all kinds of risks from the business. Dangerous structures are properly assessed by occupiers as per the OLA 1957/84 to ensure health and safety for the visitors and other people (Brotherton, 2012).
In the first scenario it is important for the travel company to provide a safe ride to Mr. and Mrs. Jones which comes under the Occupier’s Liability Act 1957. The flight service will have to check the security and safety of the flight before it takes off as well as the luggage check as per the International Aviation laws. The resort in Portugal should make sure it applies the Occupier’s Liability Act 1957 and provides a safe environment to stay or there will be breach in contract which will affect the company legally (MacCannell, 2011).
For scenario 2 it could be clearly seen that the company has not been able to provide pickup to Steve and Betty and they had to come in a old and not so safe taxi which could have met an accident any time that could have led to problems as per the Occupier’s liability Act 1957. On the other hand the resort in Caribbean could not provide effective rooms which had dust all over it which is absolutely not healthy and hence there is breach in the health and safety of the consumers. The flight was ten hours late which is not at par with the standard practice. The resort looked vulnerable to security breach and hence this will affect the company as per the occupier’s liability act (Sloan et al., 2013).
Overall it could be said that the travel companies should be focused on providing the consumers peace and solace during their holidays which would make their vacation worth all the money which has clearly not been the case in the given scenarios.
2B) Analysis of equality for tourists and employees working travel and tourism
Similar to tourists the employees also deserve good treatment and effective health and safety as in tourism and travel employees are a huge asset. As per the Health and Safety Act 19774 all the employees are also included to be safe and secured by the law as it is a law that safeguards health and safety in the workplace. Hence it is important for the employers in travel and tourism to ensure that they interact with employees to assess risk and other health issues which would help the employees to be safe and secured in the workplace for example before take off the flights will have to be checked not only for the safety of the consumers but also for the flight attendants and other staffs. Similarly the hotels and resorts will have to ensure safety and security for the employees as well as the drivers and the chauffeurs who come to drop tourists in the hotel premises as per the Occupier’s liability Act 1984 in order to be legally safe and to have effective equality (Delmonico, 2009).
Task 3 Legislation of consumer protection in Tourism
3.1 Application of Contract Law in given scenarios
Under the principles of law of contract, the formation of the contractual relation between the parties takes place on the basis of the presence of certain elements that are necessary for the formation of a legal contract between two parties. The contracts that occur between the travel operators and the clients are usually replete with several clauses related to accommodation, hotel transfers, cost of stay, duration of stay, destinations to be covered, sightseeing costs and venues and as such there must be clarity and transparency in delivering the same to the clients since failures from the operators may attract withdrawal of the contract by the client (Koffman and MacDonald, 2007). A standard contract that can be enforceable must have the elements of intention to enter into a legal relationship, a presence of an offer and acceptance, a consideration and a capacity of the parties to enter into a contract.
In the case scenario of Mr. and Mrs. Jones the brochure or the advertisement on the website of the tour operator can be construed as an offer to any party who would be interested in accepting the offer. The offer of package holiday is regarded as the intention of the tour operator to enter into a legal relationship with the interested parties. The mention of the price of 1200 pounds is the element of consideration that would follow from the acceptance of the offer and it is quite clear from the scenario that both the parties have the capacity to enter into a contractual relationship. As per the details given in the website about the offers that comes with the acceptance of the same like that of the accommodation, cost of the airfare and hotel transfers it is important that the services mentioned must be provided with care and skill and in a reasonable state according to the client’s expectations in accordance with the principles of the Contracts of Supply of Goods. The accommodation that has been promised must be safe, secure, healthy and hygienic for use by the clients failing which there could be issues of contractual breach and compensatory claims against the tour operator. The tour operators must also note that the failure to abide by a single condition mentioned in the contract can lead to its repudiation followed by a legal suit seeking compensation from the claimant (Eyster and Roos, 2009).
In the scenario of Betty and Steve the tour operators had failed to provide the deliverables as had been mentioned in the contract and hence under the contract law, when the consideration for the services agreed upon has been paid within the stipulated time without the receipt of the services, it would be regarded as a case of contractual liability arising from the breach of the terms and conditions of the contract by one of the parties making the other party liable for the loss suffered by the aggrieved party. Hence Betty and Steve can seek compensatory benefits from the tour operators on grounds of breach of the contractual conditions.
3.2 Legal position in relation to the regulation of consumer protection
In accordance with the Consumer protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, in the first scenario of Mr. Jones the advertisement by the tour operator that offered the holiday package of Portugal could be regarded as a proponent of unfair practices in case –
- The information provided therein are misleading in nature as for example the offerings provided may not actually be delivered on acceptance of the offer
- The information provided is not true like for instance there would be no hotel transfers on arrival or transfers have to be done on payment of extra cost
- The operator has concealed any information which would be revealed after the offer has been accepted or has deliberately been omitted to influence the decision of the party making the acceptance (Eyster and Roos, 2009)
- The operator of the travel company use the bait of affordable rates to clinch the deal knowing well that the services cannot be provided in that price
In the second scenario, a legal suit seeking damages and compensation can be brought against the tour operator by Betty and Steve on the grounds of violating the principles of the Consumer protection from Unfair Trading Practices Regulations 2008, for the following reasons –
- A misleading claim has been made in the offerings of the package almost ion all its aspects right from the staying facilities, the food offered, and the cost of transfers by the tour operator (Willmott, 2009).
- The couple had left the provided accommodation fully discontent making them claim for their rights
- The tour operators has made false claims and had provided deceptive piece of information to the couple in regard to the offerings that they were supposed to provide in the holiday package.
Task 4 Role of Business ethics in travel and tourism
4.1 Ethical Dilemmas in Slum tourism
The concept of slum tourism has developed in the recent past among the tour operators in the context of advertisement and promotion of cultural tourism worldwide. The conducted tours of the poverty stricken areas in several nations or the regions hit by natural disasters to get a ring side view of the lifestyles and daily living conditions of the downtrodden, the deprived and the less privileged strata of the society constitute slum tourism (Frenzel and Koens, 2012). These kinds of tours are quite popular in underdeveloped and developing economies like that of certain countries of Asia and African continent. This kind of tourism has been critiqued often as more of a voyeuristic pursuit and reaping fewer benefits, since the rich gets to see the poor and their lives more like a reality television show before getting behind the security of their gated communities and plush residences. Some researchers however are of the opinion that it spreads awareness about the lives of millions of slum dwellers which can encourage and motivate endeavours among philanthropists and entrepreneurs to bring about transformation in these regions through various modes of development (Frenzel et al, 2012).
The ethical dilemmas that can crop up in the course of conduct of such a tourism activity are more in number than the advantages. It could be considered as an invasion into the privacy of the slum dwellers who mostly are devoid of the basic amenities of life in the form of sanitation, food, clothing and shelter and hence can be labeled as an unethical practice by the tour operators to cash on somebody’s helplessness, in fact, at times it may result in irreversible cases of mental trauma especially for the children and the women of the slum communities. It is therefore crucial to seek permission of the slum communities for such activities where they are exposed to people and culture they do not know and whether it could have a negative or positive impact on their lives (Jeffries and Banks, 2010). As the sector of tourism is regarded as a part of the hospitality industry it cannot overlook its responsibility on the social and cultural impacts of its activities on the community of its hosts.
More often than not despite the efforts of the several travel operators to promote the positives of slum tourism among the visiting communities, it has been observed that these excursions are more like an option for the tourists to get away from the usual things that any holiday package offers and hence there is hardly any community contacts between the visitors and the host and the hosts rather gets utilised as photo options, catering to the exploitative mentality of the voyeuristic tourist class as well as the profiteering tour operators (Selinger and Outterson, 2010). It is therefore imperative that the slum tour operators devise a list of Dos and Don’ts, for the visitors and make them aware of the implications and the possible positives that can be drawn or promoted through such activity so that their understanding about poverty improves and they treat the dwellers of the slum communities as fellow humans and not as exhibits for the sake of sightseeing pleasures (Shamir, 2011).
The exploitative nature of the tour operators from such conducted tours of the slum communities is quite disheartening as most of the slum tours although functions and gets designed on the gospels of development and social inclusion of the downtrodden, most of the times the profits generated from such operations fails to make it on the table of investors, policy makers or organisations that are dedicated to bring about transformations in the lives of the poverty stricken population (Stephen, 2009). It is therefore quite vital that the communities of the slums are given a scope to reveal to the tourism development board whether and in what kind of ways such tours affect them and can bring benefits to them, which in turn could also be directed towards the fruitful and ethically correct development of the concept of slum tourism.
4.2 Analysis of CSR activities of TUI Group
The significance of paying back to the society and the community through its operative procedures is held in the present times by the businesses worldwide as the most crucial of all the responsibilities that the organisation have towards its several stakeholders, the environment being most important of the lot. Apart from the environment, the responsibilities towards the employees, consumers and the products or services also form part of the cluster of corporate social responsibilities and as such these kinds of activities are aimed towards the protection of the environment, the assurance of equal opportunity and the practice of a culture of sustainable development by the organization (Garriga and Melé, 2004). The activities of CSR are in general, directed towards the judicious utilisation of the environmental, cultural and social sources in order to save the cultural heritage and bio-diversity and reduce the wastage (Freeman et al, 2010). For the sector of travel and tourism the practice of corporate social responsibility is most fundamental since the cultural and social values and the environment are the basic attributes of the business.
The TUI Group has been the largest travel, tourism and Leisure Company in the world with more than 75000 employees and a listing in the LSE and has been functioning since 1997 having ownership of several airlines, cruises, hotels, retail stores and travel agencies. The focus areas of corporate social responsibilities that the group prioritizes are namely, destinations, management of carbon emissions, customers and employees. The tourism sector constitutes about 5% of the global carbon emission and this is observed as the potentially risk prone area which has been addressed well by the TUI group in its submission of the yearly estimates and its target of achieving a lesser rate every year in adherence to the law of European Union (O’Riordan and Fairbrass, 2008). A look at the total carbon footprint of TUI group would show that aviation was the primary source constituting over 90% of the contribution. This has been handled well by keeping the airplanes full to its capacity moist of the time which has considerably brought down the carbon emission rate per head. Moreover the group is investing in aircrafts that are of newest technology and has better level of environmental friendly performance. The aspects of hotels, ground and water transports have also been covered within the ambit of reduced rate of carbon emissions. The collaborations with stakeholders like sustainable aviation group and EU clean sky project has helped TUI in setting a target of CO2reduction (Morrision, 2006). As the group believes in being transparent in its communicative process with the stakeholders its practices of CSR activities would in all likeness be more successful.
TUI as a part of its CSR activities aims to manage the impacts of the holidays on the local communities at various destinations in order to bring about improvements in their standards of living. It has directed its efforts towards the management of the supply chain through the process of monitoring their progress. For this reason social and environmental standards of contracts are included in the dealings with the suppliers and the monitoring is regularly done by the teams at the destinations to check the adherences to the standards of health and safety. The aspect of animal welfare is also looked after by the group. The destination projects such as that of plantation of trees, contributions towards charity and education and protection of children are given adequate amount of support as a part of the initiatives of CSR activities. The group tries to ensure the impact of its activities of corporate social responsibilities at destinations by leaving a green footprint in being responsible not only towards the preservation of the nature and the natural environment but also through the promotion of charitable and philanthropic activities within the communities (Clement-Jones, 2005). The employees are given proper exposure to the significance and implications of the activities of CSR so that an understanding can be gained about the aspect of social responsibility from the business point-of-view. The employees are given an opportunity to get involved in doing a single good thing as a part of their responsibility towards the environment on the World Environment Day. TUI has successfully integrated the practices of sustainable development across the enterprise and this has been possible because of the presence of a strong and transparent line of communication within the enterprise (O’Riordan and Fairbrass, 2008).
TUI over the years has observed that over 90% of its clients have expectations of a greener holiday from the tour operators, a vacation that not only is supportive of the communities at the destination but also is aware of the climate changes. Thus the group has made it mandatory to include the awareness of environmental issues in their decisions of planning holiday packages. The holidays thus have now become more responsible in nature and the knowledge about the sustainable development has made its way through the minds of the clients. Greener holiday packages are being designed and the clients get adequate exposure to help in minimizing the negative impacts of the vacations. TUI has made it mandatory to load the customers with all kinds of information at each stage of the vacation so that their actions are directed towards the contribution of a sustainable conduct.
This report has discussed in its course the aspects of ethical practices, the legislation that ensures protection to the consumers, the factors of health and safety and the legal framework that is followed by the travel and tourism sector in its business activities. It has through the conduct of the business case studies has highlighted the significance and implications of the above mentioned aspects in the practical scenarios to gain a thorough understanding about its application in the real life scenarios.
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