Furthering sustainable tourism on world tourism day

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Por Clare Naden
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As one of the world’s biggest economic sectors, tourism affects virtually all of us. Not only does it currently represent 7 % of the world’s exports in goods and services, generating USD 4 billion a day on average 1), it also has a significant impact on the world we live in. Which is why making it sustainable is essential – and the theme of World Tourism Day 2017.

Last year alone, 1 235 million travellers crossed international borders in one single year. By 2030, this 1.2 billion will become 1.8 billion.2) Tourism represents an opportunity to make our world a better place and advance the key aspects of sustainable development – economic, social, environmental and cultural.

Today is World Tourism Day. Celebrated around the theme “Sustainable Tourism – a Tool for Development”, it provides an opportunity to reflect on the contribution tourism currently makes to sustainable development and how we can take it further.

ISO has a number of International Standards that serve as important tools to help key players in the tourism industry improve their contribution to sustainable development. These include standards developed by ISO technical committee ISO/TC 228Tourism and related services.

For example, ISO/TS 13811Tourism and related services – Guidelines on developing environmental specifications for accommodation establishments, lays down the guidelines to help reduce the negative impacts of accommodation establishments while retaining the benefits of tourism, thus helping to conserve the natural environment and its biodiversity in the context of its specific local conditions.

The technical specification is the result of collaborative work by experts from a number of national standardization bodies and international partners, such as the Global Sustainable Tourism Council and HOTREC.

Also in development, the upcoming ISO 20611, Adventure tourism – Sustainability good practices – Requirements and recommendations, gives adventure tourism providers the guidance they need to minimize or mitigate the negative environmental, economic or social impacts of tourism and enhance the positive ones, while the future ISO 21401 on the sustainable management of accommodation facilities sets out the requirements for a sustainability management system.

Here, Secretaries of ISO/TC 228 Natalia Ortiz de Zárate Crespo from UNE, ISO’s member for Spain, and Chokri Makhlouf from INNORPI, ISO’s member for Tunisia, share their views on why ISO standards are so important for sustainable tourism.


Natalia Ortiz de Zarate Crespo
Natalia Ortiz de Zárate Crespo, Secretary of ISO/TC 228.


World Tourism Day is an annual event organized by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), which participates in ISO committees developing standards for tourism. 

1) + 2) United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Tourism Highlights (2017 edition)

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