"Tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities"
Sustainable tourism development guidelines and management practices are applicable to all forms of tourism in all types of destinations, including mass tourism and the various niche tourism segments. Sustainability principles refer to the environmental, economic, and socio-cultural aspects of tourism development, and a suitable balance must be established between these three dimensions to guarantee its long-term sustainability.
Thus, sustainable tourism should:
- Make optimal use of environmental resources that constitute a key element in tourism development, maintaining essential ecological processes and helping to conserve natural heritage and biodiversity.
- Respect the socio-cultural authenticity of host communities, conserve their built and living cultural heritage and traditional values, and contribute to inter-cultural understanding and tolerance.
- Ensure viable, long-term economic operations, providing socio-economic benefits to all stakeholders that are fairly distributed, including stable employment and income-earning opportunities and social services to host communities, and contributing to poverty alleviation.
Sustainable tourism development requires the informed participation of all relevant stakeholders, as well as strong political leadership to ensure wide participation and consensus building. Achieving sustainable tourism is a continuous process and it requires constant monitoring of impacts, introducing the necessary preventive and/or corrective measures whenever necessary.
Sustainable tourism should also maintain a high level of tourist satisfaction and ensure a meaningful experience to the tourists, raising their awareness about sustainability issues and promoting sustainable tourism practices amongst them.
Reference: Making Tourism More Sustainable - A Guide for Policy Makers, UNEP and UNWTO, 2005, p.11-12
UNWTO strives to promote tourism development that supports, in equal measure, the conservation of biodiversity, the social welfare and the economic security of the host countries and communities.Biodiversity
Tourism is both highly vulnerable to climate change while at the same time contributing to it. Threats for the sector are diverse, including direct and indirect impacts such as more extreme weather events, increasing insurance costs and safety concerns, water shortages, biodiversity loss and damage to assets and attractions at destinations, among others.Climate Action
Global Tourism Plastics Initiative
The problem of plastic pollution in tourism is too big for any single organisation to fix on its own. To match the scale of the problem, changes need to take place across the whole tourism value chain.Global Tourism Plastics Initiative
Hotel Energy Solutions (HES)
Hotel Energy Solutions (HES) is a UNWTO-initiated project in collaboration with a team of United Nations and EU leading agencies in Tourism and Energy.Hotel Energy Solutions (HES)
The UNWTO International Network of Sustainable Tourism Observatories (INSTO) is a network of tourism observatories monitoring the economic, environmental and social impact of tourism at the destination level.INSTO
When responsibly planned and managed, tourism has demonstrated its capacity to support job creation, promote inclusive social integration, protect natural and cultural heritage, conserve biodiversity, generate sustainable livelihoods and improve human wellbeing. As the sector is experiencing tremendous growth, collective efforts to ensure its long-term sustainability are essential.One Planet
Resource Efficiency in Tourism
The report aims to inspire stakeholders and encourage them to advance the implementation of the SDGs through sustainable tourism.Resource Efficiency in Tourism
Small Islands Developing States (SIDS)
Small Island Developing States face numerous challenges. For a significant number, their remoteness affects their ability to be part of the global supply chain, increases import costs - especially for energy - and limits their competitiveness in the tourist industry. Many are increasingly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change - from devastating storms to the threat of sea level rise.Small Islands Developing States (SIDS)
Travel facilitation of tourist travel is closely interlinked with tourism development and can be a tool to foster increased demand and generate economic development, job creation and international understanding.Travel facilitation
UNGA Sustainable Tourism Resolutions
The World Tourism Organization is regularly preparing reports for the General Assembly of the United Nations providing updates on sustainable tourism policies both from UNWTO member States and States Members of the United Nations, as well as relevant agencies and programmes of the United Nations system.UNGA Sustainable Tourism Resolutions