Rezidor gives the red card to child exploitation

Brussels and Johannesburg | June 08, 2010

The Rezidor Hotel Group, one of the fastest growing hotel companies worldwide and an international leader on the South African hospitality market, today reiterates its commitment to "The Code" - the Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct in South Africa. Rezidor, which was recently named one of the world's most ethical companies, is one of 13 signatories of The Code which is being led by Fair Trade in Tourism South Africa (FTTSA), South Africa's leading responsible tourism NGO. The event which takes place at the Radisson Blu Gautrain Hotel, Sandton Johannesburg is linked to a wider national campaign coordinated by UNICEF to protect children during the 2010 Fifa World Cup%uFFFD.

The Code, which started as a project of End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes International (ECPAT International), has been developed as a Corporate Social Responsibility tool for tourism businesses and is an industry-driven,multi-stakeholder initiative that seeks to mobilise the tourism industry to protect children at risk of exploitation and report offenders. The Code has been endorsed by the United Nations-World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and many national governments. Carlson Companies, Rezidor's majority shareholder and brand owner of Park Inn, Radisson and Country Inns & Suites, was the first major US-company to join The Code in 2004. This cooperation was recently recognised at the Ethical Corporation 2010 Awards in the category "best collaboration".

"Rezidor's award-winning and group wide Responsible Business programme includes respecting social and ethical issues in the company, as well as in the communities in which we operate hotels", says Sarah Rooney, Manager Responsible Business at Rezidor. "It is not just about running a business, but also about taking notice of what happens in and around our properties. It is essential that we acknowledge that this problem, often perceived as a taboo in the travel sector, exists so that we can work towards eliminating it", continues Rooney.

All Rezidor employees already undergo awareness training as part of the so called Living Responsible Business training which is mandatory for all employees. Now the group's hotels in South Africa are going even further: They train employees what to look for and how to report an incident. "Our staff will be issued with red cards with important telephone numbers of child protection agencies that can be contacted if an employee suspects a child is at risk", explains Hannie Van Liebergen, Rezidor's Regional Responsible Business Coordinator and Trainer.

The Rezidor Hotel Group's presence on the African continent dates back to 1999. Today, the company operates 10 hotels with over 2,200 rooms in the region and has further 19 properties with over 3,800 rooms under development. As a young and emerging market, Africa belongs to Rezidor's key markets for future business development.

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