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Article: Sustainability in World Heritage Cities - 30 Jun 2007

As visitor numbers tend to concentrate in time and space, urban destinations - especially the World Heritage Cities - are confronted today with a great opportunity and a formidable challenge, said the Organization's head of Sustainable Development of Tourism, Eugenio Yunis.

 

A successful workshop on policies, indicators and managing congestion was held at the Southern European and Mediterranean OHWC meeting in Cordoba, Spain, in October 2006. As visitor numbers tend to concentrate in time and space, urban destinations - especially the World Heritage Cities - are confronted today with a great opportunity and a formidable challenge, said the Organization's head of Sustainable Development of Tourism, Eugenio Yunis.


"Managed properly, tourism can revitalize the life of a city, generating new economic and social activities, and help strengthen residents' pride in local culture and authenticity."
With tourism to major attractions continuing to grow, UNWTO is to stage a panel discussion among mayors to look at the sustainable management of urban areas when the ninth Congress of the Organization of World Heritage Cities (OWHC) meets in Kazan in the Russian Federation in June 2007.

Indicators of sustainability for tourism destinations
In the context of sustainable tourism development, indicators are information sets which are formally selected for a regular use to measure changes in assets and issues that are key for the tourism development and management of a given destination.
  
UNWTO has been promoting the use of sustainable tourism indicators since the early 1990s, as essential instruments for policy-making, planning and management processes at destinations. The Guidebook on Indicators of Sustainable Development for Tourism Destinations, published in 2004, is the most comprehensive resource on this topic, the result of an extensive study on indicator initiatives worldwide, involving 62 experts from more than 20 countries. The publication describes over 40 major sustainability issues, ranging from the management of natural resources (waste, water, energy, etc.), to development control, satisfaction of tourists and host communities, preservation of cultural heritage, seasonality, economic leakages, or climate change, to mention just a few.


For each issue, indicators and measurement techniques are suggested with practical information sources and examples. The publication also contains a procedure to develop destination-specific indicators, their use in tourism policy and planning processes, as well as applications in different destination types (e.g. coastal, urban, ecotourism, small communities). Numerous examples and 25 comprehensive case studies provide a wide range of experiences at the company, destination, national and regional levels from all continents.


UNWTO organized a series of regional and national workshops on sustainable tourism indicators to train tourism officials and professionals on their application, using a demonstration technique and participatory approach at pilot destinations:
• Hungary (1999) for Central- and Eastern-European countries (Final Report)
• Mexico (1999) for Central American nations and the Spanish-speaking Caribbean (Final Report)
• Sri Lanka (2000) (Final Report)
• Argentina (2000) for South American countries (Final Report)
• Croatia (2001) for the Mediterranean islands (Final Report)
• Cyprus (2003) to assist the Cyprus Tourism Organization in developing a national system of sustainability indicators for tourism
• Trinidad and Tobago (2004), jointly with the Association of Caribbean States
• Thailand (2005), regional workshop with a special focus on Sustainable Redevelopment of Tourism Destinations for Tsunami Recovery (Final Report)
• Bolivia (2005) for countries of the Andean Community (Final Report)
• China (2005) (Final Report)
• Saudi Arabia (2006) for countries of the Middle East and Northe African Region (Final Report)
• Kazakhstan (2006) Regional seminar for the UNWTO European Commission on "Policies, Strategies and Tools for Sustainable Development of Tourism" (Presentations, Conclusions)
UNWTO is currently promoting a Sustainable Tourism Monitoring Programme to promote the use of indicators in policy-making and planning processes at the national and local destination levels.

Posted By: World tourism website 
 
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