Under the title \'Advancing the Measurement of Sustainable Tourism Development\', UNWTO Member States, NGOs, academic institutions and other public and private sector entities discussed approaches to effectively measure, monitor and assess tourism performance and impacts at destination level. This consultative process takes place at a time in which the international tourism communityembraces The Sustainable Development Goals.
UNWTO welcomed more than 70 experts from 21 countries at its Headquarters in Madrid, to discuss and share experiences related to the measurement and monitoring of the impact that tourism has on destinations. Special focus was put on the relevance and the opportunities available from non-traditional data sources, including social media analysis, geospatial data mapping, big and live data collection and usage, as well as the analysis of credit card spending patterns and the flow of visitors based on mobile device information.
This consultation takes place in the context of recent achievements that underline and strengthen the role and responsibilities of sustainable tourism as a positive instrument for development such as the recently adopted Sustainable Development Goals as well as the upcoming International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development 2017. The two days meeting included presentations and discussions covering among others the processes of measuring sustainable tourism at the local level, common challenges and needs and the chances deriving from different data sources.
Participants stressed the need for more evidence-based decision making as well as regular and timely measurement approaches to support responsible policy-making and management of tourism at the local level.
UNWTO has been promoting the use of sustainable tourism indicators for measurement since the early 1990s as essential instruments for effective tourism policy planning and management at destinations.
In this framework, the UNWTO Network of Observatories (INSTO) was created in 2004. The Network encompasses destinations around the world committed to regular monitoring of tourism in order to better understand destination-wide resource use and foster the responsible management of tourism.
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