The World Tourism Organization’s (UNWTO) International Network of Sustainable Tourism Observatories (INSTO) recently met in Madrid and welcomed insights from more than 150 experts.
Key topics included the shift towards a circular economy and reducing food waste across the sector, with the global network of INSTO Observatories pioneering and implementing catalytic activities designed to help the tourism sector implement sustainable development at the destination level.
To ensure an inclusive and resilient tourism development, they are leading the transformation of tourism by building on the principles of participatory approaches including all stakeholders.
UNWTO secretary-general Zurab Pololikashvili said: “To ensure the sustainable transformation of the tourism sector, its development must be seen as a means to achieve the overall prosperity of a local community and the surrounding environment rather than a goal in itself.
He added that the Observatories are an excellent tool for guiding and accompanying this change to “ensure evidence-based decision-making”.
At the Global INSTO Meeting, destinations focussed on how a timely and evidence-based approach is helping stimulate circular economy processes that result in using resources such as water and energy more efficiently. In addition, challenges in the environmental and social dimensions and the need for indicators that allow for comparability among destinations were highlighted.
Another topic was the availability of data from a growing variety of data-sources, making it increasingly difficult to process them into useful information needed for an informed decision- and policy-making process – these issues will be addressed in the INSTO Network through webinars and technical discussions.
The Center of Tourism Economics of the State of Sao Paolo in Brazil and the Biscay Tourism Intelligence System in Spain were also officially welcomed as new members of the network during the meeting.