The Global Observatory on Sustainable Tourism (GOST), a United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) initiative for the monitoring and evaluating of sustainable tourism policies, received a significant boost following the signing of a collaboration agreement between UNWTO and Sun Yet-Sen University in Guangzhou, China. Strengthening cooperation between the two partners, the agreement represents an important step towards the responsible planning and management of tourism destinations.
A complete understanding of the environmental and socio-economic impacts of tourism has become a crucial factor for maintaining the competitiveness and sustainability of destinations. GOST, a network of observatories gathering and reporting data based on UNWTO sustainable tourism indicators, was established in response to this demand from tourism organization and stakeholders for accurate information on tourism’s impacts in order to support responsible tourism policies.
Signing the collaboration agreement with the President of Sun Yet-Sen University, Mr. Huang Daren, UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai, underlined the importance for UNWTO of relying on partners for the sustainable development of tourism.
“UNWTO has been promoting the use of sustainable tourism indicators since the early 1990s, but it is only through close cooperation with partners on the ground that these can be properly applied,” he said. “We are extremely pleased to count on Sun Yet-Sen University to promote their application and monitor their implementation across the region, thus providing vital information on sustainability issues.”
A monitoring center for UNWTO Sustainable Tourism Observatories will be established at Sun Yat-Sen University for establishing, managing, and monitoring all existing and future UNWTO observatories in China and potentially in the Asia-Pacific region. As such, the center will provide an important platform for networking and knowledge exchange on sustainable tourism development across the region.