Earlier this year, the Economist Intelligence Unit – research branch of The Economist – published its first Sustainable Tourism Index: yet another sign that sustainability in tourism is becoming a defining issue for the industry. Sustainable tourism strategies (for example to counter overtourism issues) are now a key ingredient for destination resilience, competitiveness and reputation.
Why a Sustainable Tourism Index?
According to Michael Gold, the author of the white paper:
“Tourism, as with most industries, exerts both positive and negative influences on the world. On the plus side, the sector’s economic contribution is enormous. On the opposite side, it places enormous pressure on the environment. It is estimated that tourism’s share of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions has been about 5% and is expected to grow in the coming years.
The Sustainable Tourism Index assesses countries on their commitment to develop and promote sustainable practices in tourism. It finds that, not surprisingly, the world’s developed countries have done more at the national level than their emerging-world rivals to formulate policy, foster adherence to recognised standards, encourage travel and tourism businesses to reduce their environmental footprint, co-ordinate efforts with NGOs and the private sector, and ensure protection of their cultural and historical assets.”
Which countries lead in tourism sustainability?
According to Gold:
“European countries lead the index overall and in most domains. Of the ten countries included in the index, only France and Germany have taken concerted and sustained action at the national level to develop policy, set targets and monitor results. Even in these countries, however, implementation is patchy. Meanwhile, the scores of developing countries are weighed down by the dearth of both policy and coordination, although India, China and Brazil score comparatively well in a small number of areas, including the economic sustainability of their tourism industries.”
Download the report to find out more.