Sustainability Set to Shape New Standard of Tourism Statistics – UNWTO

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Zurab Pololikashvili, current Ambassador of Georgia to Spain, Morocco, Algeria and Andorra, has been appointed Secretary General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) for the period 2018-2021.
L-R: Zurab Pololikashvili, current Ambassador of Georgia to Spain, Morocco, Algeria and Andorra, has been appointed Secretary General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) for the period 2018-2021.

The World Tourism Organization’s (UNWTO) has said sustainability is set to shape new standard of tourism statistics. The tourism body made this known last week when its working group met in Madrid (24-25 October). During the workshop UNWTO initiative Measuring the Sustainability of Tourism (MST) received a boost.

After successful pilot studies to produce credible and comparable data, the initiative is on track with its aim of getting the MST framework adopted as the third international standard on tourism statistics.

The group of experts creating a statistical framework for Measuring the Sustainability of Tourism met to establish the MST initiative’s major goals for 2019. The initiative is creating a draft framework for a data standard for tourism’s impact on sustainability and plans to have it adopted as the third international standard on tourism statistics by the UN Statistics Commission (UNSC).

Among the areas of discussion during the group’s meeting on 24-25 October were summarizing the pilot studies done in Germany, Philippines and Saudi Arabia to test MST’s relevance, and which have shown feasibility of the proposed framework in three different national contexts. This means the MST framework is on track to be prepared for submission as an international standard.

For 2019 the MST working group has tasked itself with refining and documenting three statistically-based tourism indicators to monitor the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and their targets. UNWTO is the custodian agency of these three indicators, and coordinates the development of tourism-related indicators with countries and UN agencies. The next step will then be to present this draft framework in UNWTO’s 2019 meetings of its governing bodies.