Skip to main content
Transforming Tourism

Why tourism

Why tourism matters

Tourism is an essential economic sector of outstanding importance for many developing countries.

Already accounting for 9% of global gross domestic product (GDP), the sector’s relevance is bound to increase even more.

The United Nations World Tourism Organisation projects international tourist arrivals to increase from 1.1 billion in 2014 to 1.8 billion in 2030.

For many developing countries, it is a key pillar of national development contributing to growth, employment, investment as well as technology dissemination. Particularly in many small island developing states (SIDS), tourism accounts for up to 25-60% of national GDP.

This scale of economic activity has major impacts on the global and local environment, such as through pollution and waste, depletion of natural resources like water, energy and land as well as increasing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

In many cases, unsustainable tourism can endanger the very basis of its own success: healthy ecosystems and habitats of flora and fauna.

Despite the important role sustainable tourism can play in climate change mitigation and adaptation, most developing countries do not specify the tourism sector in their respective international commitments and plans.

This is mainly due to the lack of disaggregated national data on the resource efficiency and aggregate carbon-intensity of the sector’s products and services.

The project is designed to address this issue.

Shifting towards sustainable consumption and production in tourism therefore offers vast opportunities to protect the environment while also fostering social inclusion and sustainable economic development through decent jobs.

Such a shift requires to work across the whole value chain with all involved stakeholders, using a life-cycle based approach to making products and services more sustainable.