Shaping The Future Of Sustainable Tourism

The second Sustainable Destinations Summit was hosted in Mallorca, bringing together leading experts, organizations and companies to share best practices and perspectives on environmental, social and economic sustainability in destinations.

The Summit emphasized tourism as a force for good, with momentum building towards a regenerative and nature-positive future.

UNWTO and the Mallorca government welcomed more than 400 delegates at the 2023 event, which showcased the latest developments in sustainability for destinations.

Discussions highlighted the interdependence of tourism on natural and cultural resources and the potential mutual benefits, while also providing unique first hand perspectives such as from Chief Frank Antoine from the Bonaparte First Nation, or the view from outer space, as told by Pedro Duque, the first ever Spanish astronaut.

The President of Mallorca Government, Catalina Cladera said that “sustainability is a shared will of Mallorcan society and the axis that marks all the policies of the Consell.”

Cladera also pointed out that Mallorca and the rest of the islands in this community “are taking firm steps not only to continue being the reference destination in the Mediterranean, but also to lead the tourism of the future.”

In her keynote address, UNWTO Executive Director, Zoritsa Urosevic emphasized the vital “transition of the sector into a force for good that has a positive impact on the Sustainable Development Agenda and our shared global challenges.”

She added: “If managed well, tourism can be an agent for change, but such a transition towards a green, regenerative and nature-positive tourism sector is needed can be achieved in a collaborative manner.”

During the two-day Summit, UNWTO provided updates on several of its key sustainability-related activities, including the Glasgow Declaration for Climate Action in Tourism which has so far seen more than 800 businesses, destinations and governments commit to achieving a Net-Zero tourism sector by 2050 at the latest.

The Global Tourism Plastics Initiative and the Food Waste program were similarly highlighted as effective instruments for accelerating this transition.

UNWTO also made tourism data and destination management a central part of the conversation at the Summit. The Measurement of Sustainable Tourism (MST) Framework and the International Network of Sustainable Tourism Observatories (INSTO), which counts among its Members the Mallorca Observatory, will play a crucial role in monitoring the sector’s impact on all three sustainability pillars, enabling an evidence-based and informed decision-making.

The Mallorca government, through its Tourism Foundation and the Sustainable Tourism Observatory, has established a public-private cooperative network across the island and works closely with UNWTO to advance shared goals.

Closing the Summit, Rosa Ana Morillo Rodríguez, Secretary of State for Tourism in Spain, emphasized the crucial role of sustainability for the nation during her closing statement. She acknowledged that tourism is one of the key sectors driving Spain’s economy and stressed the need for resilience and competitiveness within the sector.