Task Team on Sustainable Tourism


In the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, tourism is explicitly mentioned in Targets 8.9, 12.b, and 14.7. In particular, tourism is one of the driving forces of global economic growth, a recognition reflected in Target 8.9 calling for “By 2030, devise and implement policies to promote sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products.”

In the global SDG indicator framework, due to the lack of good measurement of sustainable tourism, at the conclusion of the comprehensive review of the framework in 2020, Indicator 8.9.1: Tourism direct GDP as a proportion of total GDP and in growth rate remained the sole indicator for Target 8.9.

The tourism sector is a vital contributor to the economies of many UN Member States, especially those of LDCs, LLDCs, and SIDS. As such, there have been calls for the development of further indicators of sustainable tourism for inclusion in the global indicator framework.

The UN Statistical Commission has instructed the Inter-Agency Expert Group on Sustainable Development Indicators (IAEG-SDGs) to work closely with the custodian agency to propose indicators on sustainable tourism to better monitor Target 8.9. The IAEG-SDGs has therefore established a Task Team on Sustainable Tourism to work on a proposal on sustainable tourism indicators for the 2025 comprehensive review.

Tourism is a vital contributor to sustainable development – but only when there is a careful balance between the economic benefits it brings and the social and environmental footprints it imposes on host communities. Agreeing on appropriate indicators to measure and monitor progress on sustainable tourism can go a long way towards ensuring this outcome.

Objectives and Activities

The primary objectives of the Task Team on Sustainable Tourism are to discuss, build consensus on, and develop a detailed proposal for sustainable tourism indicators to better monitor Target 8.9.

This proposal should be ready in time for submission to and consideration by the IAEG-SDGs during the 2025 comprehensive review of the global indicator framework. More specifically, the task team will:

  1. Define “sustainable tourism” taking into account already existing investigations in that respect in order to have a clear and appropriate understanding of the term,
  2. Review existing frameworks and best practices in measuring sustainable tourism,
  3. Screen and select indicators for measuring sustainable tourism for Target 8.9 based on the criteria set out in the global indicator framework and other relevant considerations such as data availability, quality, and timeliness,
  4. Consult stakeholders including, but not limited to, member States, UN agencies, tourism experts and practitioners in this screening and selection process,
  5. Prepare a proposal on sustainable tourism indicators for inclusion in the global indicator framework in time for the 2025 comprehensive review, and
  6. Regularly report the progress of its work to the IAEG-SDGs and the Statistical Commission.

Details on the terms of reference for the task team can be found here