UNWTO: Sustainable tourism observatories are transforming the sector

Members of the International Network of Sustainable Tourism Observatories (INSTO) have met to exchange ideas on the importance of governance, participatory approaches and timely data to promote sustainability in destinations

(Source: UNWTO)

Comprised of leading destinations, members of the World Tourism Organization's INSTO network are at the forefront of work to conceive and implement sustainable development practices at the ground level. These practices, which focus on inclusion and evidence-based decision making, are generating a positive shift towards tourism development that is both resilient and inclusive.

Data-driven transformation  
The meeting showcased the Observatories' efforts in various measurement areas, such as local satisfaction levels, destination carrying capacity, and environmental and social aspects of tourism. INSTO members emphasized the challenges they face in monitoring, underlining the importance of reliable data obtained through partnerships with diverse providers. They also highlighted the selection of relevant indicators adapted to the specific needs of each destination, facilitating comparison between destinations.

INSTO destinations emphasized the importance of timely and evidence-based policy actions that support the ongoing transformation of the tourism sector. Discussions focused on real-world examples and experiences from leading destinations, as well as progress on the Measuring Sustainable Tourism and One Planet initiatives and related climate action efforts on biodiversity.  

New members welcomed  
The INSTO network continues to expand, welcoming four new Observatories during this week's meeting: Gifu Prefecture in Japan, Cali in Valle del Cauca in Colombia, Central Portugal and the Atlantic Coast of Ireland. These destinations have demonstrated their work towards sustainable tourism through participatory approaches, evidence generation and transparency, essential requirements for INSTO membership. Additionally, three members have joined since early 2023: Yucatán and Tlaxcala in Mexico and the Batanes Islands Monitoring Center in the Philippines, bringing the total number of INSTO members to 42.

All INSTO members commit to assessing the impact of tourism in 11 mandatory areas covering economic, environmental and socio-economic dimensions. This commitment aligns with the new Measuring Sustainable Tourism (STM) framework that UNWTO is developing, which goes beyond broad indicators such as GDP.  

Source: UNWTO.

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