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Sustainable tourism is “tourism which leads to management of all resources in such a way that economic, social and aesthetic needs can be fulfilled while maintaining cultural integrity, essential ecological processes, biological diversity and life support systems.” World Tourism Organisation 1996

This paper presents a background to some of the most pressing global and regional impacts issues around tourism and travel. It outlines some strategies to try make the industry more sustainable.

Sustainable Tourism: Turning the Tide - Pdf format. 

Sustainable Tourism: Turning the Tide - Rich text format.

Other Resources

Click for links on the following 




Agenda 21

  • Agenda 21 for the Travel & Tourism Industry: Towards Environmentally Sustainable Development (1996) World Travel and Tourism Council, World Tourism Organization and the Earth Council. http://www.wttc.org/stratdev/agenda21.asp

  • Chairman’s summary of the dialogue segment on tourism and sustainable development at CSD7. ECOSOC (1999) www.un.org/esa/sustdev/tsout.htm

  • Discussion paper contributed by the World Travel and Tourism Council and the International Hotel and Restaurant Association “The Global Importance of Tourism”. Multi-Stakeholder dialogue on tourism and sustainable development. CSD 7 Background Paper no 1. ECOSOC (1999) www.un.org/esa/sustdev/wttc.pdf

  • Discussion paper contributed by the ICFTU & TUAC. “Workers and Trade Unions in the Web of Tourism”.  Multi-Stakeholder dialogue on tourism and sustainable development. CSD 7 Background Paper no 2. ECOSOC (1999)  www.un.org/esa/sustdev/icftu2.pdf

  • Discussion paper contributed by the ICLEI. Multi-Stakeholder dialogue on tourism and sustainable development. CSD 7 Background Paper no 3. ECOSOC (1999) http://www.un.org/esa/sustdev/iclei.pdf

  • Discussion paper contributed by the UNCSD NGO Steering Committee. “Sustainable Tourism: A Non-Governmental Organisation Perspective”. Multi-Stakeholder dialogue on tourism and sustainable development. CSD 7 Background Paper no 4. ECOSOC (1999) http://www.un.org/esa/sustdev/ngo4.pdf

Agreements at international meetings

  • Decision of General Assembly and CSD United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development 7th session New York, 19-30 April 1999 Decision 7/3. Tourism and sustainable development http://www.un.org/esa/sustdev/tour2.htm#dec

  • Quebec declaration (not a negotiated text)  http://www.world-tourism.org/sustainable/ecotourism2002/eng.pdf of the World Ecotourism Summit - May 2002 http://www.ecotourisme2002.org    

  • UN Convention on Biological Diversity  http://www.biodiv.org. Biodiversity and tourism page http://www.biodiv.org/programmes/socio-eco/tourism/default.asp and international guidelines for sustainable tourism http://www.biodiv.org/programmes/socio-eco/tourism/guidelines.asp 

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  • UN CBD international guidelines for sustainable tourism http://www.biodiv.org/programmes/socio-eco/tourism/guidelines.asp

  • UNEP-BPSP THEMATIC STUDIES - Integration of Biodiversity into National Tourism Sectors

  • http://www.unep.org/bpsp/HTML%20Files/TS-Tourism.html

Coastal and Marine Environments

  • Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Tourism http://www.aseansec.org/economic/eco-tou.htm

  • GPA News Forum - Access to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and International Ocean Institute discussion forum on public private partnerships in sewage management Website: gpanews.unep.org

  • Marine Ecotourism for the Atlantic Area. Planning for marine ecotourism in the EU Atlantic Area: Good Practice Guidance. http://www.tourism-research.org/METAhome.html

  • UNEP Mediterranean Action Plan http://www.unepmap.org

  • UNEP Caribbean Action Programme – sustainable tourism initiatives http://www.cep.unep.org/issues/tourism.htm

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Ecotourism (miscellaneous)

  • Conservation International (CI) - applies science, economics, policy and community participation to protect the Earth's richest regions of plant and animal diversity in the hotspots, major tropical wilderness areas and key marine ecosystems. With headquarters in Washington, D.C., CI works in more than 30 countries on four continents. www.ecotour.org   

  • The Ecotourism Portal http://www.ecotourism.cc/ and Eco Tourism ring http://ecotourism.cc/ring.html

  • Green Travel http://www.green-travel.com/

  • The International Ecotourism Society (TIES) – “working to make eco-tourism a genuine tool for conservation and sustainable development” www.ecotourism.org  

  • INDECON (Indonesian Ecotourism Network) http://indecon.i2.co.id/

  • International Year of Ecotourism Online Forum - Register by visiting the IYE Forum http://groups.yahoo.co,/group/iye2002

  • Journal of Sustainable Tourism http://www.greenglobe21.com/econett/journal/jrnl0018.htm

  • Our Planet, magazine of UNEP Vol 13, Number 1. 2002  Mountains and Ecotourism www.ourplanet.com. Mountains and Ecostourism edition http://www.ourplanet.com/imgversn/131/content.html

  • Pleumarom, A (2001) ‘Do we need the International Year of  EcoTourism?’, Third World Network http://www.twnside.org.sg/title/iye1.htm 

  • Sustainable development of Eco-tourism Web Conference. 1-26 April 2002.  Organised by UNEP and

  • Third World Network (2001). ‘Thailand’s Case’ (ecotourism implicated in environmental destruction) http://www.twnside.org.sg/title/iye7.htm 

  • World Tourism Organisation http://www.world-tourism.org/sustainable/2002ecotourism/eng.htm

  • UNEP (2001) UNEP Manual for the International Year of Ecotourism. Geneva:UNEP http://www.uneptie.org/pc/tourism/documents/ecotourism/manual.pdf

Ethics and Codes of Practice (see also Good Practice guidance)

  • Code of Conduct: A tool to protect children from sexual exploitation in tourism (1996) http://www.xs4all.nl/~ecpat/Code%20of%20Conduct.doc

  • Global Code of ethics – NGO proposal (1999) http://www.ecen.org/tourngo.htm

  • Influencing Consumer Behaviour Towards Sustainable Tourism - by the Ecumenical Coalition on Third World Tourism http://www.ecen.org/tourbhav.htm

  • Pacific Asia Tourism Association (PATA) “Travellers code: Sustaining Indigenous Cultures” http://www.pata.org/frame3.cfm?pageid=55 and  “Code for Sustainable Tourism” http://www.pata.org/oecpage.cfm?pageid=3

  • UNEP Principles on Implementation of Sustainable Tourism (2000)

  • http://www.uneptie.org/pc/tourism/policy/principles.htm

  • WTTC’s Green Globe Certification for the Travel and Tourism Sector http://www.wttc.org and further certification info www.sgsgroup.com/ics 

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Employment and Economics

  • The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) statistics and publications http://www.wttc.org

  • Gender and Tourism – Women’s Employment and Participation in Tourism Editor: Minu Hemmati (with Gender and Tourism team) Stakeholder Forum. Report for UN Commission on Sustainable Development 7th Session. April 1999. http://www.uned-uk.org/toolkits/women/current/gendertourismrep.htm

Exploitation/Human Rights

  • ECPAT International (End Child Prostitution and Trafficking in Children for Sexual Purposes)  http://www.ecpat.net

  • End Child Prostitution in Asian Tourism (ECPAT), including groups in Europe and the Pacific www.ecpat.net

  • Globalisation and policies towards cultural diversity. Indiginous communities and biodiversity

  • Blench, R. / Overseas Development Institute (ODI), 2001  http://www.odi.org.uk/nrp/70.pdf

  • ICFTU’s info on Child labour http://www.icftu.org/focus.asp?Issue=childlabour&Language=EN

  • Rethinking Tourism http://www.rethinkingtourism.org

  • Tourism Concern http://www.tourismconcern.org.uk

Gender & Tourism

  • Stakeholder Toolkit for Women and NGOs: http://www.earthsummit2002.org/toolkits/women/index.htm

  • Gender and Tourism – Women’s Employment and Participation in Tourism Editor: Minu Hemmati (with Gender and Tourism team) Stakeholder Forum. Report for UN Commission on Sustainable Development 7th Session. April 1999. http://www.uned-uk.org/toolkits/women/current/gendertourismrep.htm

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Good Practice Guidance and Accreditation Programme

  • Blue Flag award - widely recognised by the public as a sign that the beach is clean. The Programme assesses the environmental standards of individual beaches in Europe. It measures concentrations of pollutants on beaches and marinas. http://www.blueflag.com

  • British Airways – Tourism for Tomorrow Awards (since 1992) http://www.britishairways.com/tourism/

  • CERT (Centre for Environmentally Responsible Tourism) http://www.c-e-r-t.org

  • Compilation of good practices in sustainable tourism http://www.world-tourism.org/cgi-bin/infoshop.storefront/EN/product/1214-1

  • Green Globe – an environmental management programme for the Travel and Tourism industry based upon Agenda 21 principles http://www.wttc.org and http:// www.greenglobe21.com )
  • Green Leaf – Developed by Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) http://www.pata.org
  • Sustainable Tourism Stewardship Council (STSC) web pages, in Rainforest Alliance Website. (www.rainforest-alliance.org/programs/sv/stsc.html) 

  • Tour Operators' Initiative for Sustainable Tourism Development. http://www.toinitiative.org

  • UN CBD international guidelines for sustainable tourism http://www.biodiv.org/programmes/socio-eco/tourism/guidelines.asp

  • WTTC’s Green Globe Certification for the Travel and Tourism Sector http://www.wttc.org

  • World Tourism Organisation’s Global Code of Ethics for Tourism (1999) http://www.world-tourism.org/frameset/frame_project_ethics.html

Land-use planning and management for sustainable tourism

  • National and Regional Tourism Planning: Methodologies and Case Studies http://www.world-tourism.org/cgi-bin/infoshop.storefront/EN/product/1015-1


  • 2002 UN International Year of Mountains. Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) – lead UN agency for International Year of Mountains.  http://www.mountains2002.org 

  • Alpine Convention, adopted in 1991, brought together all alpine countries to work together on mountain development and protection. http://www.mtnforum.org/resources/library/eurco91a.htm

  • High Summit Videoconference: Discussion of mountain ecology, culture and future developments. http://www.highsummit.org

  • International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) http://www.icimod.org

  • Mountain Voices, Oral Testimony Programme of the Panos Institute. http://www.mountainvoices.org  

  • Mountain Forum – a global network of experts working for the Global Mountain Summit – 29 Oct-2Nov 2002 at Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. http://www.mntforum.org

  • UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre (WCMC): Co-ordinating an assessment of the ecological condition of mountain systems, to be known as Mountain Watch (GEF project) http://www.unep-wcmc.org

  • WWF Carpathian Ecoregion Initiative – a partnership of over 50 organisations promoting the Capathian Biodiversity Network of mountain protected areas, and strengthening the participation of local communities, private sector and NGOs. http://www.carpathians.org

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Networks and ICT

  • EMPOST or the “Emerging Paradigm of Sustainable Tourism: A Network Perspective” http://www.web.ndirect.co.uk/empostnet/

  • Boniface, P (2000) Information Technology, Tourism and Biodiversity: in Society, and in Relationship. draft version. Global Information Society International Research Programme. http://egis.cefe.cnrs-mop.fr/Tourism%20Frontpages/Boniface%20article.htm



  • Practical strategies for pro-poor tourism - a collaborative research project of ODI, IIED and CRT www.propoortourism.org.uk

  • Pro-Poor Tourism strategies: making tourism work for the poor: a review of experience. Pro-Poor Tourism goes well beyond community tourism Ashley, C.; Roe, D.; Goodwin, H. / Pro-Poor Tourism, 2001 http://www.propoortourism.org.uk/ppt_report.pdf

  • Pro-Poor Tourism: Harnessing the World’s Largest Industry for the World’s Poor

  • Dilys Roe and Penny Urquhart Khanya. International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) (2001) http://www.iied.org/pdf/wssd_11_tourism_long.pdf

Resource protection and management (waste minimisation, recycling, energy conservation, water etc)

  • GREEN GLOBE publications on developing environmental management systems and environmental improvements in the areas of waste, energy and water management. http://www.greenglobe21.com
  • Tourism and Protected Areas task force of the World Commission on Protected Areas http://wcpa.iucn.org/theme/tourism/tourism.html

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Small Island Developing States (SIDS)

  • No island is an island’ Carlston Boucher in Our Planet, magazine of UNEP. Vol 10. Number 1. 1999 Tourism http://www.ourplanet.com

Statistics and Indicators

  • The Impact of Travel & Tourism on Jobs and the Economy – 2002. World Travel & Tourism Council  www.wttc.org )

  • A practical guide for the development and application of indicators of sustainable tourism: What Tourism Managers Need to Know http://www.world-tourism.org/cgi-bin/infoshop.storefront/EN/product/1020-1

  • UNEP GEO2 Overview Global Environmental Outlook 2000 http://www.unep.org/geo2000

  • UNEP GEO3 Global Environment Outlook 3. Past, present and future perspectives (2002) http://www.unep.org/geo/geo3

  • Tour Operators Initiative and Global reporting Initative Reporting guidelines  http://www.toinitiative.org/reporting/reporting.htm

  • World Travel and Tourism Council industry statistics http://www.wttc.org

Training, education and public awareness

  • GREEN GLOBE travel and tourism videos. http://www.greenglobe21.com

  • International Ecotourism Society operates training programmes for operators in ecotourism sector. http://www.ecotourism.org 

  • Tourism Concern http://www.tourismconcern.org

  • US National Wildlife Federation: produces materials to help teachers of outdoor ethics develop skills to transfer their knowledge to individual visitors. Mainly text-based publications including Teaching and Evaluating Outdoor Ethics Education Programmes http://www.nwf.org

Transport and Sustainable Tourism

  • The Transport, Communications, Tourism, and Infrastructure Division (TCTIDD) of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific  http://www.unescap.org/tctd/to/index.htm

  • Sustainable Tourism Network, Nepal http://www.stn.info.com.np/

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Last up-dated August 2001 

If you would like your link included here, please send a request to rgardiner@earthsummit2002.org