UNWTO Sustainable Tourism observatories Network

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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 Destination level. The initiative is based on UNWTO’s long-standing commitment to support Sustainable and resilient growth of the sector through measurement and monitoring, fostering the Evidence-Based Management of tourism.

Key Objectives of the observatories:

  1. To establish a strong foundation of tangible information for well-informed decision making, To actively engage local stakeholders in the measurement of risks, costs, impacts, limits and opportunities through an inclusive and participatory approach
  2. To provide a framework for the systematic, timely and regular monitoring of resource-use and a better understanding of tourism impacts
  3. To network and exchange information for improved collaboration, communication and greater public accountability
  4. To monitor the implementation of sustainable development plans, policies and management actions
  5. To foster long-term commitment for regular monitoring, thus contributing to the sustainable growth of the sector at the destination-level.
  6. To highlight and share good practices and lessons’ learned.

The Environmental Committee of UNWTO developed the first set of internationally accepted indicators of sustainability applicable for the tourism sector, which was followed by a continuous expansion of the work including the creation of relevant publications on the topic such as the UNWTO Guidebook on Indicators of Sustainable Development for Tourism Destinations, published in 2004, as well as the support for and implementation of workshops on indicators and the establishment of INSTO.

The framework of INSTO, which has recently been updated, aligns with efforts made by other relevant initiatives in this field such as the European Tourism Indicator System (ETIS) and the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC).

Observatories that have joined in 2017:

Sonoma County, California, USA

The monitoring area of the Sonoma County Sustainable Tourism Observatory is strategically located 45 minutes North of the Golden Gate Bridge and the metropolitan areas of San Francisco and Silicon Valley. Due to the regions premier position as a wine destination, its proximity to major innovation hubs and its abundant variety of culinary and scenic attractions, the area attracts millions of visitors every year. The observatory is the first of its kind under the umbrella of the Coalition to Observe and Advance Sustainable Tourism (COAST), aiming to serve as an anchor for a possible network of Pacific Coast observatories, connecting key tourism destinations along the Pacific Coast of North America, stretching from San Francisco and the Channel Islands in the south to Vancouver and Victoria BC in the north.

Learn more about the Sonoma County Sustainable Tourism Observatory

The Sustainable Tourism Observatory of Sonoma, California, becomes the 17th member of the UNWTO International Network Press Release

Raglan and Waitomo, Waikato Region, New Zealand

The Waikato Tourism Monitoring Observatory is the first observatory to open in New Zealand and is hosted by the Waikato Management School of the University of Waikato. The Waikato Observatory seeks to support the strengthening of the world famous surfing town Raglan as a sustainable destination, while continuing to protect the unique landscapes and the biodiversity of Waitomo and its iconic tourist attraction the Waitomo Caves. It focuses its monitoring efforts especially on crucial socio-cultural aspects such as ‘local and visitor satisfaction’, ‘destination economic benefits’, ‘tourism seasonality’ and ‘development control’. Over time, efforts will be extended, covering additional thematic areas related to waste management, housing issues, water supply and sewage management, among others.

Learn more about the Waikato Tourism Monitoring Observatory

UNWTO welcomes the Waikato Tourism Monitoring Observatory in New Zealand to its INSTO Network Press Release

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