The Canary Islands has been confirmed as the latest member of the growing International Network of Sustainable Tourism Observatories (INSTO), overseeing the responsible development of tourism worldwide.
The announcement came as INSTO, an initiative of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) held its annual meeting, bringing together key stakeholders from both the public and private sectors.
Since its establishment in 2004, the network of Sustainable Tourism Observatories has steadily grown in both size and influence. Now, as its members help guide tourism’s recovery from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, it met virtually for the second time since the start of the current crisis. The annual meeting provided more than 100 international experts with a platform for open dialogue about the future direction of tourism and on the support destinations need to maintain their efforts to place sustainability at the heart of future growth.
Warm welcome to new member
The Tourism Observatory of the Canary Islands, one of Europe’s most popular destinations, will join the other 30 INSTO members in monitoring and measuring tourism and providing clear, objective data to guide evidence-based decision making.
UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said: “UNWTO warmly welcomes the Canary Islands into our global network of observatories. This demonstrates the Islands’ strong commitment to tourism as a force for sustainability and development. It will facilitate the generation of more and better evidence of the economic, environmental and social impacts that tourism has on the Canary Islands.”
Ms. Teresa Berástegui Guigou, Vice-Minister of Tourism for the Canary Islands, added: “The incorporation of the Canary Islands into the UNWTO International Network of Sustainable Observatories takes place at a crucial and decisive moment for the global tourism sector, due to the health crisis and the growing importance of working both on the sustainability of destinations, and on the generation of tourism knowledge for decision-making.”
Immediate concerns and long-term objectives
A range of pressing issues were discussed during the annual INSTO meeting, with inputs from the public and private sectors and from civil society, including academia. Specific issues addressed included measuring the needs of destinations, emerging public health indicators, and varying tourism products in order to mitigate the social and economic impacts of the current crisis.
The meeting also focused on ongoing issues for INSTO members, including measuring the satisfaction of both tourists and residents of tourists destinations, assessing and improving governance, and identifying how combined national and local actions are paving the way for a sustainable response, resilience and recovery.