Unit 16 - Tourism Legislation

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184
UNIT 16TOURISM LEGISLATION

Structure
16.0Objectives
16.1Introduction
16.2Tourism Legislation
16.3Sources of Tourism Law
16.4Why Tourism Law
16.5The Indian Scenario
16.6Let Us Sum Up
16.7Clues to Answers


16.0OBJECTIVES
After going through this Unit you will be able to:
appreciate the relevance of tourism legislation,
understand what all can be incorporated under tourism legislation,
comprehend the demand for tourism legislation,
know about the different Acts and Regulations that have a bearing on tourism in India, and
learn about the various recommendations that have been made in this regard.


16.1INTRODUCTION
Tourism, as we understand, is a diverse activity with different sectors, different types of destinations,
different types of tourists and different types of problems. TheWorld Tourism Organisationhas
started the Tourism Legislation Information Service on its website. Its documentation centre had by
1998 collected more than 2000 items of laws and regulations governing the main areas of tourism
activities in over 140 countries. There is no one thing as such which can be described as a tourism
legislation because of the varied nature of tourism itself. However, laws are pervasive in the tourism
industry in order to regulate, permit, promote, empower or ban the commercial/leisure activities of
both service providers as well as tourists. There are also laws to recognize the rights of the tourists as
well as contract laws to determine the relations within the industry segments. In fact, travel and
accommodation were two sectors where legislation has been there for a long time, but now new and
new areas that require to be incorporated under tourism legislation have emerged and there has been a
demand for a comprehensive tourism legislation.
In this Unit, the last Unit of this course, we have attempted to familiarize you with the debate that has
emerged in the area of tourism legislation. Here, we are not discussing the provisions of various laws
that have a bearing on tourism for that will be a full course in itself.


16.2TOURISM LEGISLATION
According toRonald A. Kaiser (Travel and Tourism Law,1994), tourism law creates and defines
seven basic concepts:
1)Travel is a legal right,
2)Reliable and safe transportation must be readily available,
3)Safe and adequate accommodations must await the traveller,
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4)All travellers should have access to such accommodations,
5)Travel and accommodation costs must be reasonable,
6)Regulation of the travel and tourism industry is necessary, and
7)Redressal mechanism for transgressions of rights and regulations is necessary.
Though, countries like the United States may be quite advanced in relation to tourism law, the WTO
commented that “all countries – developed, developing or underdeveloped were underdeveloped in so
far as tourism legislation is concerned”. A crucial question to be asked here is what all should tourism
legislation incorporate of and for whom?
In general terms, tourism law would seek to define in clear and unambiguous terms the rights and
responsibilities of the various segments of tourism vis-à-vis the user as well as the service provider.
Till date the types of tourism legislation that have been created or introduced in various countries can
be classified into the following functional areas:
1)Those related to the protection of tourists,
2)Those related to border controls,
3)Those related to quality of services,
4)Those related to protection of environment,
5)Those related to conservation of historical sites and monuments,
6)Those related to economic development,
7)Those determining the relationship of various segments of the tourism industry, etc.
Another way in which we can categorise tourism legislation is to arrange there legislations industry-
wise, i.e., legislation related to hotel industry, aviation industry, travel industry, etc.
However, more and more areas are being added like tourist safety, health and hygiene, protection of
privacy along with various environmental legislations and regulations that have emerged over the
years. There is also talk about having tourism legislation enacted to check the negative impacts of
tourism, protection of host population’s interests and so on.


16.3SOURCES OF TOURISM LAW
The existence of what we term as tourism laws today can be traced back in history from the most
ancient times in practically all the civilisations. Many ancient texts refer to traveller’s accommodation
and facilitation, laws about the functionings of sarais, state officials responsibilities towards travellers,
tariffs, etc. However, today we have more complex laws that have emerged not only because of the
complex nature of the industry but also because of varied government attitudes, existence of varied
government departments, tourism awareness and so on. Tourism laws are derived from a variety of
sources. For example, in United States 51 different sources (states and federal government) contribute
towards tourism law. These include federal and state constitutions, common law, administrative law,
treaties and statutes. Similarly, in India the Union list, Concurrent list and State list, all have elements
related to tourism though tourism is not specifically referred to anywhere. For example, emigration
laws, aviation, archaeological sites and monuments, shipping, highways etc. come under the union
list; protection of wild animals and birds, forests,etc. form part of the concurrent list whereas
domestic pilgrimage, theatres etc. form part of the state list. Different laws have come up at different
intervals of time as regards these themes.
There is no such law that encompasses all aspects of tourism though the demand for one has been
pickingup.Ithasbeenarguedinfactthatlegislationontourismseekstodefineinclear
unambiguous terms the rights and responsibilities of its various segments vis-à-vis the user and vice-
versa and to provide for le gal protection of the rights and enforcements of the responsibilities thus
defined” (MishraandRavindran, 1998).
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This means that practically all aspects related to tourism should be governed by one tourism
legislation. Currently, there are various legislations that directly or indirectly affect tourism. These
can be categorised under the following heads :
1)Laws related totrans-border movementslike customs, visa regulations, foreign exchange
regulations, immigration laws, etc.
2)Laws related totransportationlike airline regulations, railways, road and water transport; fares
and tariffs, etc.
3)Laws related toaccommodationlike classification/grading/rating of hotels, etc.
4)Consumer Protection Lawsrelated to health, hygiene, service quality standards, etc.
5)Laws related toland use,infrastructure development, etc.
6)Labour lawsrelated to employees’ working conditions, wages, etc.
7)Laws regarding thefunctioning of tourism organisationsat various levels.
8)Conservation related lawson environment protection, monuments and historical sites, etc.
9)Laws related tohuman resource development.
10)Laws forregulating the service providers, etc.
Different countries have their own provisions on these laws whereas there are areas of international
operations where common provisions are followed.

Check Your Progress – 1

1)Mention the functional areas of tourism legislation.
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2)What can be the sources for tourism law?
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16.4WHY TOURISM LAW
Sitikantha MishraandG. Ravindranin a paper on “An Overview of Tourism Legislation in
India” presented in aWorkshop on Tourism Legislationin Indiain January 1998, mentioned that:
The emergence of tourism as an important activity has brought into focus the need for
harmonious relationship between the tourists and the providers of the tourist services.
A number of problems of tourists have their roots in the absence of any standard norms
regulating the trade. Once the standards of quality of services are laid down and revised
periodically as per market exigencies, everyone would be clear about whether in a
particularcasetheservicesweredeficientornot.Thiswillleadtoanoverall
improvement in the quality of services and minimisation of disputes between the
tourists and the providers of services. The economic importance of tourism and the
present stage of its development has also brought into sharper focus the need for
appropriate central legislation to coordinate and control the activities of the industries
on professional lines and ensure observance of high ethical standards commensurate
with the needs/demands of an international activity. This is especially so because global
tourism is becoming highly competitive in the neighbouring destinations/countries.”
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