On 1 October 1999, the World Tourism Organisation underlined the right of everyone to travel and in this way to get to know other regions and countries. The desire to see tourism as a universal right and to make it accessible to all is a basis for social tourism. “The right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay” is included in article 24 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (10 December 1948).
Tourism is considered then as a social right and most of European Countries have such constitutional provisions that imply the right to leisure, culture or health.
These fundamental rights are as well the core of the European Social Charter that was opened for signature in 1966 by the Council of Europe. The same year the United Nations opened for signature the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights that fully enforced the importance of health, family and the right for workers to have paid holidays.
Indeed in all these legal provisions, holidays, health, the protection of the children, the elderly, the disabled and the family are linked and rooted in the right for people to achieve a form of well-being, to have the social capacity to "pursuit happiness".
Social and health tourism are therefore meant to share the values embedded in these fundamental rights and to share a same outcome, individual and collective well-being.