UNWTO report finds little commitment to sustainability in most national tourism policies

By Xavier Font.

The Baseline Report on the Integration of Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns into Tourism Policies, developed by UNWTO and UN Environment, reviews the sustainability content in 101 national tourism policies.

Although all tourism policies mention sustainable tourism, only 55% go beyond making a cursory reference to it. Very few quote actual data about the sustainability of current resources, and only 2% make reference to policy instruments related more than two of the SDG12 Sustainable Production and Consumption impact areas (biodiversity and land use, greenhouse emissions, energy, waste and water).

Policy instruments mentioned are primarily voluntary (e.g. awareness raising and awards) and directed to the private sector, with few compulsory or public sector governance cases. Compulsory legislation usually refers to biodiversity and land use. Although 56% of the policies envision the development of mechanisms to monitor the sustainable development of tourism, only 4% of them include information on the progress achieved in implementing areas related to environmental sustainability.

There is no analysis of whether sustainability policies are fit for purpose in any of the 101 documents, which leads us to consider the realised ACAP of DMOs in relation to sustainability management.

Full report here