UNWTO News 84

Release Date: 
19 Mar 19

UNWTO and the Basque Culinary Center (BCC) are co-organizing the 5th UNWTO World Forum on Gastronomy Tourism, on 2-3 May 2019 in San Sebastián, Spain. The Forum is supported by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism of Spain, the Basque Government, the Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa and the City Council of San Sebastián, a city that has hosted the Forum every other year since its first edition, in 2015.

Navarre’s observatory is the first tourism observatory in Spain to join INSTO, bringing the number of network members to 25. The group consists of destinations committed to generating better evidence through the continuous monitoring of the impacts of tourism at the destination level.

The report “Walking Tourism – Promoting Regional Development” showcases examples of walking tourism which can serve as a practical reference for destinations looking into the role of walking tourism for their own regional development.

“The Future of Mountain Tourism” was the theme of the 4th edition of the UNWTO Euro-Asian Mountain Tourism Conference. The conference spotlighted the significant opportunities to be seized and the challenges facing the development of mountain tourism.

The UNWTO/Chimelong Sub-regional Capacity Building Workshop on Sustainable Tourism and Biodiversity Conservation for the Mekong Subregion Member States was held on 19-21 February 2019 in Pakse, Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao DPR).

Organized under the framework of the UNWTO/Chimelong Initiative and in line with UNWTO’s priority on fostering education, jobs and skills, this sub-regional workshop focussed on enhancing the quality of human capital in the field of sustainable tourism and wildlife conservation within the Mekong river area. It was attended by tourism officials from Lao PDR at the local and provincial level, and selected local people who are self-employed in the tourism sector.

The key objectives of the workshop were:

  • To analyze in a participatory manner the main threats to biodiversity and the environment along the Mekong, in particular those threats caused by activities of local people or enterprises.
  • To provide guidance to local people that are (self-) employed in the tourism sector on how to act as champions for biodiversity conservation and environmental protection in their communities.
  • To provide guidance to tourism employees on how to contribute to environmental management (making optimal use of scarce natural resources) and waste management in their enterprises.

Walking tourism is now one of the most popular ways to experience a destination. It allows tourists to better engage with local people, nature and culture. It also meets the growing demand of travellers of outdoor activities in general, including when they travel. Walking tourism can be developed anywhere as a sustainable tourism offer with a relatively small investment. It can bring about social and economic benefits to residents and communities if properly developed and managed. This report showcases various successful examples of walking tourism and aims to serve as a practical reference for destinations with a focus on the role of walking tourism in regional development.

The international statistical community working on sustainable tourism took a collective leap forward, spotlighting the theme: “What you can’t measure, you can’t manage!”

The 19th Meeting of the Committee on Statistics took place at UNWTO headquarters, hosting 25 countries and 14 international institutions and international organizations.
The meeting focused on the Measurable Sustainable Tourism (MST) project, by not only reviewing the current progress on the Statistical Framework but also charting the next steps for its implementation in countries and links to the Sustainable Development Goals.
More consolidated areas of work of the Committee were also discussed, such as supporting implementation of the Tourism Satellite Account (TSA) in countries.

The key takeaways from the discussion were the following:

  • Countries were encouraged to take a pragmatic approach to measure tourism’s contribution to the SDGs as a lot of data is already available and just needs to be organized
  • The Committee welcomed the progress made on MST project and encouraged UNWTO to commit funds for further development and securing UN approval
  • Countries were encouraged to implement TSA and the committee welcomed the progress made on TSA compilation guide by the expert group and in collaboration with UNSD  
  • The Committee encouraged UNWTO to explore further areas of partnership potentials with OECD, Eurostat and ILO
  • The Committee encouraged UNWTO and ILO to further collaborate in order to improve tourism employment statistics

The UNWTO Committee on Statistics has existed since the 1980’s and focusses its work on pioneering methodological developments, consensus-building towards international standards and supporting countries in the area of tourism statistics