The rapid growth in the tourism sector is having a deep environmental impact on the popular destinations. As the sector is growing faster than the world economy or international trade, the need to decouple its growth from the use of natural resources is of high importance.The Baseline Report, prepared by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in collaboration with United Nations Environment (UN Environment) and with support from the Government of France, is the first global assessment of sustainable consumption and production (SCP) factors within national tourism policies. All of 101 UNWTO Member States participated in this groundbreaking exercise.
All the tourism policies analyzed refer to sustainability as part of their objectives or vision and 55% address sustainability as a cross cutting element. At the same time, 67% of tourism policies include references to resource efficiency and 64% connect sustainability with the competitiveness of the sector. Tourism policy makers are aware of the importance of SCP but the references to policy instruments aiming at SCP implementation are limited and so is the evidence available for other aspects beyond the economic performance of the sector.
Celebrating the release of the Baseline Report, UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili says: “Sustainability and competitiveness go hand in hand. Destinations and businesses can flourish while making a meaningful contribution to sustainability in several ways, including through the efficient use of resources, promoting biodiversity conservation and taking action to fight climate change”.
Advancing SCP practices in the tourism sector is essential if the sector is to contribute effectively to sustainable development and the 2030 Agenda. With this in mind, UNWTO has also launched the Sustainable Tourism Policy Talks alongside the Baseline Report. The series of talks feature interviews with Ministers of Tourism on the implementation of national tourism policies.
One Planet Sustainable Tourism Programme
The Sustainable Tourism Programme aims at scaling up SCP practices that boost the efficient use of natural resources in tourism while producing less waste and addressing the challenges of climate change and biodiversity.
UNWTO is the lead of the One Planet Sustainable Tourism Programme with the Government of France as Co-Lead and in collaboration with UN Environment.
The programme acts as an implementation mechanism for SDG12 and the Baseline Report and Sustainable Tourism Policy Talks directly contribute to the implementation of One Planet objectives