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Are you planning a trip in 2023? If so, have you given any thought to the way your activities might have an impact on the environment, community and economy of the destination you’ll be visiting?

Sustainable tourism is an essential consideration if we’re to make sure that beautiful environments, rich cultures and local communities remain accessible to all of us in the future.

And sustainable tourism is an integral part of achieving the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

In response, the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) is working hard to ensure that sustainable tourism initiatives and policies around the world are up and running long before 2030.

The UNWTO is working to establish clear and comparable statistical standards for Measuring the Sustainability of Tourism (MST) across all of its economic, environmental and social dimensions. The MST project was launched in 2016. It has developed a rich body of technical material and is receiving substantive support from the many countries involved.

IDEEA Group is playing a big part in the development of these measurement tools. Our Director, Carl Obst, is the lead author and editor of the draft Statistical Framework for the Measuring the Sustainability of Tourism project (SF-MST). This is an organising structure that integrates statistics on the economic, environmental and social dimensions of sustainable tourism.

Established sets of definitions and recording rules help make all of our work in the sustainability space easier and more transparent. A final version of the SF-MST is due for completion in early 2024.

As well, IDEEA Group has been working with the Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) since 2019 on the development of statistics for measuring sustainable tourism. Our current project concerns the design of a set of Pacific Sustainable Tourism Indicators (PSTI) for endorsement and implementation by SPTO member countries.

The PSTI project will help to establish a consistent set of indicators for the countries across the Pacific who have a high economic dependence on tourism but also must maintain their environmental and social assets. This set of indicators will help establish an important baseline in the region.

All of this work is underpinned by IDEEA Group’s inherent knowledge of the System for Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA) that Carl also developed for the UN. This consistent and coherent application of environmental and economic measurement is a win at both global and local levels, as governments and communities demand reliable frameworks to work within.

You can read all about the SF-MST here.

And find out more about the SPTO project here.

We’ll keep you informed about both major projects as they continue in 2023 and beyond.