April 18, 2024
Travel Sustainability

Sustainable tourism observatories meet to transform the sector

INSTO members assess tourism impact in 11 areas

In the lead-up to COP28 being held in Dubai, UAE, from November 30-December 12, 2023, members of the International Network of Sustainable Tourism Observatories (INSTO) met at the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) headquarters in Madrid, Spain, to exchange insights on the importance of governance, participatory approaches and timely data in advancing sustainability in destinations.

Made up of leading destinations, UNWTO’s INSTO network members are at the forefront of work to conceive and implement sustainable development practices at the ground level.

These practices, which focus on inclusivity and making decisions based on evidence, are leading to a positive shift towards tourism development that is both resilient and inclusive.

The meeting, held on November 22, 2023, showcased the Observatories’ efforts in various measurement areas, such as local satisfaction levels, destination carrying capacity, and environmental and social aspects of tourism.

Challenges to the fore

INSTO members emphasised the challenges they face in monitoring, underscoring the importance of reliable data obtained through partnerships with diverse providers. They also highlighted the selection of relevant indicators tailored to each destination’s specific needs, making it easier to compare between destinations.

The INSTO destinations emphasised the importance of timely and evidence-based policy actions supporting the tourism sector’s ongoing transformation. Discussions centred around real-world examples and experiences from leading destinations, progress in the Measurement of Sustainable Tourism and One Planet initiatives, and the efforts related to biodiversity climate action.

During the meeting, the INSTO network welcomed four new Observatories: Gifu Prefecture in Japan, Cali in the Valle de Cauca in Colombia, the Centro de 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 the beginning of 2023: Yucatan and Tlaxcala in Mexico and the Monitoring Centre from the Batanes Islands in the Philippines, bringing the total INSTO membership to 42.

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

Featured image: International Network of Sustainable Tourism Observatories (INSTO) representatives at the UNWTO headquarters in Madrid, Spain. Image: UNWTO

    Middle East News 247

    Middle East News 247

    Middle East News 247 delivers the latest business and lifestyle news and essential infotainment for, and from the Middle East region, with key focus on the GCC nations: United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Oman.
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