Policy experts and statisticians specialized in sustainable development, environment and tourism gathered recently to agree on the way forward in developing a statistical framework for sustainable tourism.
The first meeting of the Working Group of Experts on Measuring Sustainable Tourism (MST) agreed that developing a statistical framework for sustainable tourism is a priority to support integrated policy responses at national and destination level, and urged UNWTO to lead this effort.
The group agreed that the core rationale for developing a statistical framework is to support the measurement of sustainable tourism in its various dimensions (economic, environmental and social) and at the relevant spatial levels (global, national, sub-national) by providing a common language and organizing structure for exploiting the richness of data already available and for identifying additional data that may be needed.
A statistical framework for sustainable tourism is the natural evolution of and complement to the standing statistical standards on tourism statistics: the Tourism Satellite Account (TSA) and the International Recommendations for Tourism Statistics (IRTS).
The starting foundation involves bridging the economic and environmental dimensions of sustainable tourism through two UN standards: the TSA and the System of Environmental Economic Accounting (SEEA).
A standards-based statistical framework can support the credibility, comparability and outreach of data and various measurement and monitoring programs pertaining to sustainable tourism, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) indicators.
UNWTO secretary-general, Taleb Rifai said, “The Sustainable Development Goals and the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development 2017 constitute a unique opportunity to advance sustainable, inclusive and responsible tourism; developing a statistical framework to measure sustainable tourism is essential in fostering a common understanding for tracking our progress.”
Rifai pointed out that, “Tourism stakeholders at large will benefit from having a statistical framework for sustainable tourism much like we all benefit from the TSA which provides the framework for tourism’s economic contribution.”
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