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Mainstreaming sustainable tourism principles: The global sustainable tourism baseline criteria initiative Dr. Stefanos Fotiou United Nations Environment Programme Division of Technology, Industry and Economics Sustainable tourism challenges The role of UNEP 1 2 3 4 The Initiative

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Mainstreaming sustainable tourism principles:The global sustainable tourism baseline criteria initiative

Dr. Stefanos Fotiou

United Nations Environment Programme

Division of Technology, Industry and Economics


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Sustainable tourism challenges

The role of UNEP

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2

3

4

The Initiative

Critical issues

Contents


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Decoding tourism

Consumption of resources

Production of resources

  • Transportation

  • Land, water energy use

  • Carrying capacity

  • Waste

  • Nature conservation

  • Development

  • Employment

  • Local income

Production of tourism services

Consumption of tourism services


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What is happening today

  • Sustainability and the tourism value chain: Complex and unclear relations.

    • Industry dominated by SMEs; “sustainable is costly”

    • Fragmented responsibilities of the public authorities

    • Consumers that they don’t really care

    • Environmental and social negative impacts

    • Great potential ability of tourism to contribute to sustainable development


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What we would like to happen

  • Tourism supporting sustainable economic development; production of fairly distributed wealth; creation of employment opportunities;

  • Society and environment absorb and benefit from the positive effects of tourism in a sustainable way;

  • The negative environmental, socio-cultural and economic impacts of tourism are addressed and reduced or counterbalanced with concrete contributions.


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Sustainable tourism development


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Why is not happening now?

  • Inertia

    • the resistance to change presented by economic systems, social structures and business models

  • The socio-economic environment of today is the product of decades of forces acting on it and resulting in a natural “inertia”

  • Economic Inertia

  • Social Inertia

  • Capital Inertia


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Contents

Sustainable tourism challenges

The role of UNEP

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3

4

The initiative

Critical issues


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Production and Consumption Patterns

  • A combination of political, technological, business and individualchoices (preferences)

    • Focus on economic growth

    • Foster human development

    • Working “business as usual”

    • Promote and use innovative solutions

    • I prefer biological products

    • I want the most appealing packaging in my products

    • …………………………


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The mission statement

  • Mainstream sustainability in tourism by fostering a pragmatic and demonstrative approach on the basis of sustainable consumption and production patterns in the tourism value chain.


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The objectives

  • Support the integration of sustainability in tourism development policies.

  • Promote sustainable production and consumption patterns in the tourism industry.

  • Encourage demand for “sustainable tourism services”.


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Expected Accomplishments

  • Resource efficiency is increased and in the tourism value chain.

  • Investment in sustainable tourism is increased through public policies and private sector action.

  • Consumer choice favours more resource efficient and environmentally friendly tourism products and services.


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Our main instruments

  • Advisory services

  • Partnerships

  • Capacity building, training and awareness raising

  • Horizontal / supporting activities

    • Policy recommendations, publications, promotion of legal instruments, etch.


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Contents

Sustainable tourism challenges

The role of UNEP

1

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3

4

The Initiative

Critical issues


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The needs

  • Tourism companies are seeking advice on identifying internationally recognized sustainable tourism criteria

  • Consumers are becoming more and more conscious

  • Voluntary sustainable tourism initiatives need credible references to developing their own programs

  • Mutual recognition and reciprocity among programs

  • Governmental agencies need support


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The response

  • A global partnerships to develop the Sustainable Tourism Criteria with the purpose of identifying common sustainable tourism requirements from initiatives across the world


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The uses

  • Serve as basic guidelines for businesses of all sizes to voluntarily adopt and become more sustainable.

  • Help tourism operators and lodging providers orient sustainable tourism programs to fulfill a generally accepted baseline international criteria.

  • Serve as the underlying criteria for accrediting sustainable tourism certification programs.


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The uses

  • Serve as common denominator for media to recognize sustainable tourism providers.

  • Serve as guidance for travel agencies in choosing suppliers and sustainable tourism programs.

  • Help consumers identify sound sustainable tourism programs and businesses.


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The Process

  • The initial partnership (coordinating group)

  • Establishing the initial list of Criteria

  • Consultations (various versions)

  • Establishment of a Steering Committee (SC)

  • Launching of the Public Version by the SC

  • Pilot Projects and additional consultation

  • Development of Indicators

  • Industry Launching

  • Global Launching (IUCN conference)

  • Outreach and integration with other initiatives (STSC)


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The Partnership

  • Under the leadership of the UN Foundation, UNEP, UNWTO, IUCN and Rainforest Alliance formed the partnership; and created the Coordinating Group with the participation of the CBD Secretariat and ICOMOS.

  • Endorsement of the partnership by the organizations’ executive management


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Initial list: Highlights

  • Dozens of documents consulted

    • UNEP-UNWTO 12 principles; Mohonk agreement; World Heritage Alliance principles; CBD guidelines; UNWTO Indicators for Sustainable Tourism Certification; TOI; VISIT; Certification Network of the Americas; etc.

  • 500+ criteria compared and evaluated

  • 26 criteria with performance indicators


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Consultation highlights

  • Online surveys and phone interviews

  • 1500 industry visits in the web site

  • Full membership of IUCN

  • Comparison with over 5000 individual criteria from 12 sets of general guidelines and 55 certification standards

  • 2 meetings (DC) and a number of conference calls


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The steering committee

  • The coordinating Group +

  • International Hotels and Restaurants Association

  • Tourism Concern

  • The International Ecotourism Society

  • Federation of Tour Operators

  • Conde Nast Traveler

  • Ecotrans

  • Conservation International

  • Sabre holdings

  • Caribbean Alliance on Sustainable Tourism

  • Expedia Inc.

  • Solimar International


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The public version

  • 38 Criteria in 4 Categories

  • A. Demonstrate effective sustainable management (11 Criteria).

  • B. Maximize social and economic benefits to the local community and minimize negative impacts (9 Criteria).

  • C. Minimize negative impacts to cultural heritage and maximize benefits (4 Criteria)

  • D. Minimize environmental negative impacts and maximize benefits (14 Criteria).


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Next Steps

  • Pilot Projects and additional Consultation

  • Development of Indicators

  • Industry Launching

  • Global Launching (IUCN conference)

  • Outreach and integration with other initiatives (STSC)


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The Criteria and the STSC

  • The criteria will be a major input for the STSC

  • The STSC Board should use the Criteria as a technical basis for the STSC accreditation system

  • There will be adjustments but the overall concept, spirit and basic content of the criteria should be kept


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Elements of success

  • Pragmatic approach

  • Initiative driven by existing needs and demands from the private sector

  • The value behind these criteria emanates mostly by the process that was followed to develop and peer-review them

  • Not to substitute existing initiatives; enhance them


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Balance

  • Need to create a list of criteria that should, at the same time, be comprehensive, have a practical meaning, be representative of the values of sustainable tourism

  • Need to reach consensus among the steering committee of the initiative.


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Contents

Sustainable tourism challenges

The role of UNEP

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3

4

The initiative

Critical issues


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Demonstrate value for stakeholders

  • Governments

    • Planning of tourism development; capacity building; consultation

  • Private sector

    • Improve operations management; reputation; increase visibility

  • Consumers

    • Assist them making better choices


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Additional challenges

  • Climate change adaptation and mitigation in the tourism sector

  • Community tourism development; participatory planning of tourism

  • Application in developing and less developed countries

    • Focus on emerging destinations

  • Tourism and biodiversity; cultural heritage


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Sustainable tourism and economic efficiency

  • Decrease the cost of handling the impacts

    • To increase profits

  • Conserve the assets of the tourism development

    • To assure future profits

  • Diversify the tourism products and thus target new markets

    • To generate new profits


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For more information

www.sustainabletourismcriteria.org


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