Additional Resources and Links


Sustainable development of tourism: principles, policies and guidelines


Biodiversité et Tourisme - Government of France

Biodiversité et Tourisme, de nouvelles opportunités pour les entreprises et les destinations ? is one of the tools to effectively decline the National Strategy for Biodiversity into tourism businesses and destinations everyday reality. Published in August 2011, its purpose is to provide keys to business and destination managers to stimulate the tourism economy and sustain the country's natural heritage. It specifically targets tourism leaders and senior managers, as well as all private and public tourism stakeholders: everyone can get involved in biodiversity!


Practical Guide for the development of biodiversity based tourism products - UNWTO 2010

The aim of the Practical Guide is to offer a collection of tools and methodologies paired with step-by-step systems that show local product developers and tour operators how to develop sustainable biodiversity-based tourism products. Without theoretical complexities, this Guide is addressed to product developers interested in practical how-to instructions and it is intended for immediate implementation of biodiversity-based tourism products. You may order the guideline via UNWTO InfoShop.


Sustainable development of Tourism Department’s website, UNWTO. The website presents all the activities undertaken by the Department, announces events related to sustainable tourism and contains reports, recommendations and guidelines in this field.

Biodiversity and Tourism Development web pages of the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, SCBD The website provides some background on the activities developed under the Convention regarding the tourism industry, as well as on the tools provided to Parties and other stakeholders, including the CBD Guidelines on Biodiversity and Tourism. The Secretariat also developed a web portal for the Biodiversity and Tourism Network which provides a tool for assessing implementation of the Guidelines by different stakeholders.

Sustainable tourism web site, UNEP DTIE This site provides information on UNEP DTIE’s activities in sustainable tourism as well as providing access to UNEP tourism publications.

Green Passport Campaign - Holidays for a living planet, UNEP. A global campaign including green travel tips for the world's growing number of international tourists have been developed and launched by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The internet-based campaign, Green Passport, aims to raise tourists' awareness of their potential to contribute to sustainable development by making responsible holiday choices. Click here to visit the campaign and learn how you can going green while you are on the go! Available in English, Portuguese and French.

Reisepavillon International Alternative Travel Fair, this alternative travel fair has put across the message that holidays – whether for seekers of relaxation or adventure, long-distance or close-to-home, young and old – can be both ecologically and socially responsible and a lot of fun!

Tour Operators’ Initiative web site, TOI The TOI’s web site provides an overview of the TOI structure and activities and includes all the TOI publications.

Making Tourism More Sustainable: A Guide for Policy Makers, 2005, UNEP/WTO http://www.world-tourism.org/sustainable This guide sets out twelve aims for sustainable tourism and their implications for policy, and describes the collaborative structures and strategies that are needed at national and local level. It identifies ways to influence the development and operation of tourism enterprises and the activities of tourists. The guide also includes a comprehensive set of instruments for governments to use, ranging from planning regulations to economic instruments and the application of certification and indicators. It is illustrated with numerous examples and case studies.

A Practical Guide to Good Practice: Managing Environmental Impacts In The Marine Recreation Sector, 2004, TOI/ Center for Environmental Leadership in Business (CELB) This guide provides suggestions on how to reduce impacts related to boat operation and maintenance and during marine excursions (snorkeling, diving and scuba; seafood consumption and souvenir purchasing; recreational fishing; and marine wildlife viewing). A self-assessment checklist is provided to promote the practice of evaluating environmental performance among marine recreation providers.

Tourism and Poverty Alleviation: Recommendations for Action, 2004, UNWTO Based on an extensive analysis of successful experiences, it gives clear and practical recommendations—to governments, private tourism companies, international and bilateral development agencies and other stakeholders—on the various ways and means they can utilize to make tourism a poverty alleviation tool.

Sustainable tourism: The Tour Operator’s Contribution, 2003, TOI Over 30 case studies, grouped in the key business areas of supply chain management; internal management; product management and development; customer relations; and cooperation with destinations provide an overview of the diverse approaches and tools that tour operators can adopt, including ‘green’ checklists to assess hoteliers, the introduction of environmental clauses into contracts, the provision of technical assistance, and the introduction of a suppliers’ food hygiene campaign.

A Practical Guide to Good Practice: Managing Environmental and Social Issues in the Accommodations Sector, 2003, TOI/ Center for Environmental Leadership in Business (CELB) The guide provides information to managers on key environmental and social issues including: energy and water conservation, waste management, chemical use, purchasing, contributing to community development and biodiversity conservation, sta. management and developing environmental management systems.

Tourism and Local Agenda 21—The Role of Local Authorities in Sustainable tourism, 2003, UNEP-DTIE and the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) This study looks at how tourism has been taken into account in local Agenda 21’s, as drawn up and implemented by local authorities. The Agenda 21 planning framework is useful to local authorities facing the impacts of tourism development, in defining strategic goals for all stakeholders, and using tourism effectively to achieve a community’s main goals.

Tourism and Poverty Alleviation, 2002, UNWTO This report reflects the UNWTO’s concern that the benefits of tourism should be widely spread in society and that the poor should benefit from tourism development. It reviews current experience of tourism and poverty reduction in order to identify what is known about the contribution which the tourism industry can make to the elimination of poverty.

Enhancing the Economic Benefits of Tourism for Local Communities and Poverty Alleviation, 2002, UNWTO The document has been complemented by the addition of ten case studies that highlight countries’ national policies and approaches to community-based tourism, and specific projects that are considered success stories.

Sustainable tourism in Protected areas: Guidelines for Planning and Management, 2002, UNEP/IUCN/ WTO http://www.world-tourism.org/cgi-bin/infoshop.storefront/EN/product/1259-1 Publication aiming to assist protected area managers and other stakeholders in the planning and management of protected areas based on a wealth of practical case studies and experience.

Managing Tourism at World heritage sites: A Practical Guide for World heritage site Managers, 2002, UNESCO/UNEP Provides a set of management methodologies and practices designed to help managers to solve tourism problems, along with a set of tools for designing surveys, monitoring policies and management implmenetation, promoting sites and communicating with stakeholders.

Principles for Implementation of Sustainable tourism, 2002, UNEP These principles set out core requirements for effective implementation of sustainable tourism, including national strategies, inter-sectoral coordination, planning, standards, monitoring, voluntary initiatives, and capacity building

Global Code of Ethics for Tourism, 1999, UNWTO In October 1999, the General Assembly of the UNWTO, held in Santiago, Chile, approved the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism which sets a frame of reference for responsible and sustainable development of world tourism. The Global Code of Ethics for Tourism is an essential tool to help minimize the negative impacts of tourism on the environment and cultural heritage while maximizing the benefits for residents of tourism destinations.

Guide for Local Authorities on Developing Sustainable tourism, 1998, UNWTO This enlarged and revised edition of UNWTO’s most popular publication Sustainable tourism Development: Guide for Local Planners, presents concepts, principles and techniques for planning and developing tourism and includes sections on managing environmental and socio-economic impacts at the local level. It also contains numerous examples of sustainable tourism best practices readily adaptable to the particular conditions and level of development of each destination.

Handbook on Natural Disaster Reduction in Tourist Areas, 1998, WMO and UNWTO Tourism developments are quite often located in areas exposed to, or likely to be exposed to, sudden-onset natural disasters, in particular beach and coastal areas, river valleys and mountain regions. This handbook, produced jointly by UNWTO and World Meteorological Organization experts, demonstrates how to combat natural disasters in tourist areas and mitigate their impacts. It guides the reader through disaster onset to post-disaster reconstruction and the relaunching of a tourist destination.

Structures and strategies to work with other stakeholders


Forging Links Between Protected areas and the Tourism Sector: How Tourism Can Benefit Conservation, 2005, UNEP DTIE/ UNESCO/RARE and UNF This manual, based on interviews with tourism companies, provides practical guidance on better ways of understanding the tourism industry. It also details what can be expected from the tourism industry in terms of support for conservation.

Co-operation and Partnerships in Tourism — A Global Perspective, 2003, UNWTO Provides guidance on how to build, implement and further develop partnerships, focusing on strategic and operational issues in partnering and lessons learned from past partnering experiences. As tourism is increasingly becoming a sector successfully built on cooperation and partnerships, this study is a valuable resource for anyone interested in Public- Private Sector Cooperation.

Measurement instruments


Indicators of Sustainable development for Tourism Destinations, 2004, UNWTO This guidebook 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. 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).

130 Indicators for sustainable development in the Mediterranean Region, 2000, UNEP/ PAM/ Plan Bleu The indicators have been selected during two-years of work by the Mediterranean Commission of Sustainable development (MCSD), and are validated by the Contracting Parties.

Monitoring for a Sustainable tourism Transition: The challenge of developing and using indicators, 2005, University of Surrey/New York University/CABI Publishing Shows how to use and develop indicators for sustainable tourism, and the way in which monitoring information can be used for Adaptive Management to promote more sustainable tourism.

Command and control instruments


Tourism Congestion Management at Natural and Cultural Sites, 2005, UNWTO This guidebook provides recommendations to the different stakeholders in the tourism industry on how they might contribute to the minimization of tourism congestion. Destination and site managers will find a range of recommendations to build a well-informed understanding of their places and their visitors, as well as recommendations for upgrading the operational and physical capacities of their areas, in order to handle high levels of tourism activity. Congestion management practices are explained at different levels, linking actions between demand, destination and site management.

Making Tourism Work for Small Island Developing States, 2005, UNWTO For most islands, tourism is the main economic activity in terms of income generation, employment creation, and foreign exchange earnings. But due to their small size, islands are vulnerable to the negative environmental and social impacts that tourism can sometimes bring. That is why it is vital to plan, manage and monitor tourism development in small island developing states (SIDS), aiming at sustainability objectives. This report addresses the key issues that need to be considered by small island nations and provides policy orientations, guidelines and other tools to the National Tourism Authorities, the tourism industry and other tourism stakeholders in SIDS on how to develop and manage tourism in a sustainable manner for the benefit of their population.

Environmental impact assessment and Strategic environmental assessment:Toward an Integrated Approach, 2004, UNEP-ETB This document annotates and compares the lessons of EIA experience in developing and transitional countries to provide points of reference for EIA practitioners to review or develop EIA guidelines appropriate to countries’ specific needs, development priorities and socio-economic and cultural background.

UNEP Environmental impact assessment Training Resource Manual, Second Edition and Studies of EIA Practice in Developing Countries, 2003, UNEP The main objective of this publication is to facilitate the preparation of training courses and materials that are specific to a particular country or region. Resource aids are included to help EIA trainers to identify the needs of participants and to custom design courses to meet them. The case studies have been prepared by EIA specialists from developing countries to exemplify how the EIA process is implemented in different parts of the developing world and to identify difficulties that are commonly encountered in EIA practice in this context. It includes cases studies that can be used to support EIA training.

Tourism at World Heritage Cultural Sites, 1999, UNWTO World heritage sites are magnets for tourism. This handbook concentrates on human-made sites, the physical evidence of major historical events. It is devoted to helping the managers of World heritage sites accomplish a dual purpose: to conserve the site in their care and provide meaningful and considerate access to as many visitors as the site can allow.

Economic instruments


Tourism, Microfinance and Poverty Alleviation, 2005, UNWTO Tourism can contribute to the fight against poverty in developing countries, and more specifically in the least developed countries. However, this potential is closely linked to the accessibility of financing sources. This report presents recommendations for small tourism enterprises and microbusinesses as well as microfinance institutions, with the objective of bringing them together and thus stimulate tourism development that benefits the poor. This report encourages governments and MFIs to adapt lending terms to the specific characteristics of tourism activity and poor populations.

Pay per Nature View: Understanding tourism revenues for effective management plans, 2004, Leeds Tourism Group/WWF This guide examines the mechanisms available for protected areas to use to raise funds from tourism, and to what extent protected areas can or should raise funds from tourism. The guide outlines a model of the six survival essentials for protected areas, and uses these as a context for analysis of the role and potential of tourism in protected areas. The opportunities for generating revenues directly or indirectly from tourism are primarily via allocation of government revenues; entrance fees, user fees, and permit charges; and concessions or leases with tourism businesses. The main market segments that offer potential for protected areas to raise revenue from tourism are mass tourism, adventure tourism and eco-tourism/nature-based tourism.

The Use of Economic Instruments in Environmental Policy: Opportunities and Challenges, 2004, UNEPETP This report seeks to help policy makers, especially in the developing world, to identify, evaluate and apply economic instruments to address a country’s environmental problems within its national and local circumstances. It provides tools for comprehensive assessment of the country context and conditions, and for tailoring solutions to specific country needs.

Leakages and Linkages in the Tourism Sector: Using Cluster-Based Economic Strategy To Minimize Tourism Leakages, 2003, UNWTO Leakages are broadly defined as the loss of foreign exchange and other hidden costs deriving from tourism related activities. Leakage avoidance can be undertaken proactively through processes that maximize the ability of the national and particularly the regional economy of countries to build and improve their tourism value-chain. A process for accomplishing this, at least in part, has taken shape in the form of regional cluster-based economic development.

Voluntary instruments


Reports of the Regional Conferences on Sustainability Certification of Tourism, 2003/2004, UNWTO Europe Americas Asia-Pacific
The need for greater sustainability in tourism services and activities is already widely recognized at all levels. Moreover, there are many and varied planning and development methodologies, as well as tourism management techniques that make it possible to attain higher levels of sustainability and to increase them gradually. Such methodologies and techniques can be complemented by voluntary certification systems for tourism services.

WTO recommendations to governments for supporting and/or establishing national certification systems for sustainable tourism, 2003, UNWTO This document emphasizes the role of governments in establishing and coordinating multistakeholder processes for certification systems, gives orientations for developing certification criteria, and on the following operational aspects (application, verification, awarding of certification, consulting, advisory and technical assistance services, marketing and communication, fees and funding, etc.)

Voluntary Initiatives for Sustainable tourism—Worldwide Inventory and Comparative Analysis of 104 Ecolabels, Awards and Self-Commitments, 2002, UNWTO This study identifies similarities and differences among voluntary initiatives and outlines the factors that make them successful in terms of sustainable tourism development. Based on the results, guidelines are made available to tourism companies wishing to adopt any of these voluntary schemes; organizations that run these initiatives, in order to improve existing schemes or create new ones; as well as for governments and NGOs, to provide them with technical criteria and guidelines for the support and supervision they may wish to give to these initiatives.

Tourism ecolabelling: certification and promotion of sustainable management, 2001, Leeds Tourism Group/ Griffith University/CABI Publishing Reviews a wide range of tourism certification and labelling schemes, and identifies the key features that need to be considered when setting up new schemes.

Sustainability Reporting Guidelines, 2002, Global reporting initiative (GRI) The Guidelines represent the foundation upon which all other GRI reporting documents are based, and outline core content that is broadly relevant to all organizations regardless of size, sector, or location.

Sustainability Reporting Guidelines - Tour Operators Sector Supplement, 2002, Global reporting initiative (GRI) This book offers performance indicators specific to the sector, developed in multistakeholder fashion. The indicators can support tour operators in producing a detailed report on their sustainability performance, for public disclosure as well as to monitor internally their performance and benchmark progress.

Child prostitution in tourism watch—International Campaign Against Sexual Exploitation of Children in Tourism, UNWTO In recognition of the need to engage both governments and the private sector in the international campaign against child sex tourism the UNWTO child prostitution in tourism watch and partners (ECPAT, International Federation of Journalists and Terre des Hommes, Germany) have implemented a series of interrelated projects. The main activities include the implementation of guidelines for focal points at national tourism administrations and local tourism destinations, the application of the Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation in Travel and Tourism and its six criteria for tour operators, the incorporation of training modules on SECT in curricula of tourism education centres, the improvement of knowledge about SECT among journalists and young people in Europe. The project also acknowledges the diversity of tourism stakeholders and encourages all sectors to participate, including tour operators, hotels, airlines and government tourism ministries.

Awards for Improving the Coastal Environment: The Example of the Blue Flag, 1997, FEEE/ UNEP and UNWTO This book outlines Europe’s Blue Flag campaign, and explains how it assists the tourism sector and at the same time helps to improve the coastal environment. The book includes chapters on the history of the Blue Flag campaign, how the campaign is financed and monitored, and criteria and lessons that can be learned from the European experience. It also looks at the differences between European beaches and those in other parts of the world and explains how the Blue Flag programme can be adapted to regions outside of Europe.

Ecolabels in the Tourism Industry, 1996, UNEP. This publication examines the role of ecolabels within the context of voluntary self-regulation in the tourism industry. It aims to help those applying for ecolabels to better understand the nature of ecolabel schemes (the tourism industry, local and national government, local communities and non-governmental organization).

Environmental Codes of Conduct for Tourism, UNEP Technical Report No. 29, 1995, UNEP A technical report based on the results of a survey and analysis of existing codes developed by countries, industry associations and NGOs. It offers not only examples of environmental codes for the tourism industry, for host communities and for tourists, but also essential elements common to successful codes and some of the most common pitfalls; implementation and monitoring tools and programmes currently in use to activate codes and monitor and report on performance; references and useful addresses.

  • United Nations
  • United Nations Environment Programme