UNWTO News 63

Release Date: 
25 May 17

Policy leaders, statisticians, academicians and private sector will convene in Manila, The Philippines, next June 2017 (21-24), to discuss new methodologies to measure the full impacts of tourism. The 6th edition of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) International Conference on Statistics, an official event of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development 2017, will address the topic of ‘Measuring Sustainable Tourism’. 

In 2016, Asia and the Pacific received 309 million international tourist arrivals, 9% more than in 2015; by 2030 this number is expected to reach 535 million. Over 20 countries gathered in Bangladesh on 16-17 May for the 29th joint meeting of the UNWTO Commissions for Asia and the Pacific and South Asia, to discuss challenges facing the sector in the region, opportunities for sustainable tourism development and the programme of work of UNWTO in Asia for the coming two years.

Madrid, Spain, hosted the 105th meeting of the Executive Council of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) between 11 and 12 May. The Meeting focused on current trends and challenges facing the tourism sector and on the three priorities of the Organization - safe, secure and seamless travel; the impact of technology in the tourism sector and sustainability. 

The 105th session of the UNWTO Executive Council, meeting in Madrid, Spain, on 12 May 2017, recommended Zurab Pololikashvili, Ambassador of Georgia in Spain, as a nominee for the post of Secretary-General for the four-year-period starting January 2018.

The potential of cooperation to foster ethical practices in the tourism sector was the major conclusion of the 3rd International Congress on Ethics and Tourism. The 2-day event held in Krakow, Poland, was attended by 200 participants from 32 countries. 

Tourism is one of the most viable and sustainable economic development options and the main source of foreign exchange earnings in many developing and Least Developed Countries (LDCs). Today, international tourism accounts for as much as 6% of all exports in the 49 LDCs. Aware of the close relation between tourism and local economic development and committed to help enhance tourism’s contribution to poverty alleviation, UNWTO launched the ST-EP (Sustainable Tourism – Eliminating Poverty) Initiative at the World Summit for Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in 2002. The Initiative focuses on enhancing the Organization’s longstanding work to encourage sustainable tourism – social, economic and environmental – with activities that specifically alleviate poverty, delivering development and jobs to people living on less than a dollar a day. Following the launch of ST-EP, activities concentrated primarily on awareness raising and resource mobilization. As a result, a number of important donors and development organisations offered their support to the initiative, including the Governments of the Republic of Korea; Italy; Macao, China; Flanders; and the Netherlands Development Organisation (SNV). 

In 2012, UNWTO Affiliate Members Programme launched the Global Report on Food Tourism outlining the state of gastronomy tourism. The report presented various examples of tourism and gastronomy professionals with extensive experience in international organizations, destination management, in both tourism enterprises and training schools.

The 2nd Global Report on Gastronomy Tourism provides recent trends in gastronomy tourism, in addition to experts’ analyses and case studies suggesting best practices. The report, developed by the UNWTO Affiliate Members Programme with case studies from 60 contributors including UNWTO Member States, Affiliate Members and partner organizations, showcases how gastronomy tourism can be a driver for modern tourism in creating authentic experiences while promoting sustainable tourism. The report offers an introduction to a variety of themes related to gastronomy tourism, such as case studies on product development and experience in gastronomy tourism, challenges, communication and branding, good practices as well as training and skills in gastronomy tourism. In essence, the 2nd Global Report on Gastronomy Tourism provides a holistic perspective of the state of gastronomy tourism today and an outlook for the future of the sector. 

On the occasion of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development 2017, the Government of the Philippines and the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) are organizing the 6th International Conference on Tourism Statistics to be held in Manila from 21 to 24 June 2017 with the objective of addressing the issue of the Measurement of Sustainable Tourism.

Sustainable tourism is increasingly relevant in national agendas for its role in fostering economic growth, social inclusiveness and the protection of cultural and natural assets. This is now also recognized at the highest international level with the UN General Assembly having adopted several resolutions acknowledging the role of tourism in sustainable development, including the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This calls for evidence to support policy and track progress.

A core component of the conference will be the presentation of the first draft of a new statistical framework for tourism —one that integrates the various dimensions of sustainable tourism (economic, environmental and social) and across relevant spatial levels (global, national and subnational).

UNWTO recognizes that, apart from being a technical exercise, the development and implementation of a statistical framework for sustainable tourism is very much a strategic endeavor that will require stakeholder engagement, inter-institutional coordination and political leadership.

Participants will have the chance to discuss methodological advances, explore emerging issues and learn from pioneering country experiences in this area of measurement.

The Manila Conference will gather for the first time Ministers, Statistical Chiefs, Policy experts and statisticians dedicated to sustainable development, environment and tourism.

Website and Registration

UNWTO 6th International Conference on Tourism Statistics: Measuring Sustainable Tourism

About ‘Towards a Statistical Framework for Measuring Sustainable Tourism’ (MST)