Ethical Tourism

Promoting Ethical Recruitment in the Hotel and Tourism Industry 

The hotel and tourism industry is one of the fastest growing sectors in the global economy and one of the strongest job-creating sectors. One in five new jobs created throughout the world is in the tourism industry. Due to tourism’s importance in the global economy, it has been noted by the global community as playing a leading role in sustainable development and in the future of work as a driver of employment worldwide. 

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Within the industry, there is strong consensus that migrant workers are vital to its operational viability and continued future growth. Migrants are noted for bringing skills profiles into the industry that are frequently unavailable in the local labour market and for fulfilling roles that may be unattractive to local workers. Hotel and other tourism enterprises also benefit from the culturally diverse and multidimensional skill sets of migrants while providing important employment and livelihood opportunities for them.  

In order to increase the protection and wellbeing of migrants in the hotel and tourism industry, IOM has launched the new global initiative IRIS: Ethical Tourism to promote ethical recruitment in the industry. Building on IRIS, this initiative seeks to support the industry, governments, and civil society to reinforce, advance, and sustain ethical recruitment practices in the hospitality industry.  



To reinforce industry engagement, IOM and the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance have partnered to engage the industry and promote ethical recruitment practices. 

The Sustainable Hospitality Alliance brings together engaged hospitality companies and uses the collective power of the industry to deliver impact locally and on a global scale. They work with the leading hospitality companies to address environmental and social challenges, share expertise and develop practical resources and programmes to enable the wider industry to operate responsibly and grow sustainably. This is achieved through partnering with philanthropic organizations, non-profits, governments, other industries and the private sector to drive action on shared sustainability challenges.  

The Sustainable Hospitality Alliance launched the Principles on Forced Labour to help the hospitality industry prioritise action to address the primary drivers of forced labour. Through their responsible recruitment programme, they are working to leverage the collective influence of the hospitality industry to promote and encourage responsible recruitment across industry-wide labour supply chains. They pilot recruitment policies and processes in key countries through multi-stakeholder partnerships to create safe recruitment pathways and careers in the hotel industry. They also create tools and guidance for hotel companies and recruitment agencies to protect migrant workers and promote clear and accessible information for workers throughout their recruitment journey.  

What we do: 

This project brings together recruitment agencies in origin countries with employers in the hotel and tourism industry, local governments, and civil society actors to: 

  • Drive demand and support recruitment agencies to align with the IRIS Standard 
  • Raise awareness and increase engagement across the sector 
  • Develop hospitality-specific online trainings and tools on implementing ethical recruitment 
  • Co-create guidance for hotel companies operating in destination countries 
  • Improve access to information for hotel workers throughout their recruitment journey 

How to engage:

To learn more about how to engage with IRIS on improving ethical recruitment for the hospitality and tourism industry, check out our guidance Establishing Ethical Recruitment Practices in the Hospitality Industry. This guidance was co-developed with the industry to assist hospitality actors in taking the first steps to implement ethical recruitment in their policies and day-to-day operations. Employers in the industry are encouraged to:

Five essential elements of ethical recruitment: respect the rights of migrant workers, adopt the employer pays principle, carry out human rights due diligence on business operations and supply chains, respect migrant workers' right to freedom of movement, provide access to remedy.

Further guidance and tools for the industry are forthcoming. 

To learn more: email IRIS at or reach out to the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance

Where we operate: 

IRIS: Ethical Tourism has a global impact through collaboration with the private sector and global brands. Key activities have been carried out in Europe, Gulf Cooperation Council, East Africa, Central America, and North America. 

To learn more about this initiative, read our factsheets below: English  Spanish