OECD Tourism Trends and Policies 2018 - “Tourism, an engine for economic, sustainable and inclusive growth”

“Tourism, when built upon broad stakeholder engagement and sustainable development principles, can contribute to more inclusive growth through the provision of employment and economic development opportunities in both urban and rural areas, and promote social integration. Tourism can also raise awareness of cultural and environmental values, and help finance the protection and management of protected areas, and the preservation of biological diversity.” Policy statement of Ministers and other Representatives of OECD Members relaunched in The last edition of the OECD Tourism Trends and Policies 2018.

(Rome, 8 February 2019) The last edition of the OECD Tourism Trends and Policies 2018, analyzing policies and reforms in the tourism sector, highlights essential aspects and necessary changes to ensure a sustainable tourism. This report includes trends pertaining to tourism performance and policies in the OECD area, and analyzes them with the objective of adapting this sector to emerging trends, might they be economic, environmental, technological, social or political. This analysis follows on from a policy statement in which Ministers and other Representatives of OECD Members, in 2017, declared that “Tourism, when built upon broad stakeholder engagement and sustainable development principles, can contribute to more inclusive growth through the provision of employment and economic development opportunities in both urban and rural areas, and promote social integration. Tourism can also raise awareness of cultural and environmental values, and help finance the protection and management of protected areas, and the preservation of biological diversity.”

Three main policy messages are delivered throughout this report. It builds upon the different actions that have been aiming at the sustainability, competitiveness and inclusiveness of tourism.

First, there is a need to foster an integrated policy approach. It is decisive to develop long-term strategies while ensuring dialogue between the different stakeholders. Deciding on the repartition of the roles between the latter are necessary in order to contribute “fulfilling tourism’s potential as an engine for sustainable and inclusive growth”. Moreover, enhanced communication within the government-industry-civil society nexus is essential throughout the different phases, ranging from development to monitoring. This could be particularly interesting for the COASTING project of the MED Sustainable Tourism Community, that aims at enhancing the effectiveness of a multilevel governance, transferring a shared methodology mostly centred on the stakeholders’ involvement, and focusing tools and actions more deeply on the tourism sector sustainability and qualification. This could be as well pertinent to the DestiMed project, bringing together 13 Protected areas to collectively develop, manage and promote ecotourism in the Mediterranean.

Second, preparing for megatrends is of the utmost importance. It is imperative to develop diverse steps in order to face the important upcoming shifts. Some developments could be advanced in relation to the modernisation of the frameworks, might they be regulatory or legislative, while ensuring that stakeholders are engaged throughout this modernisation. Some others could be refined in relation to promoting innovation within governments. This, combined with enhancing partnerships with industries, governments and civil society, would allow for addressing the impacts that the megatrends could cause, on the one hand, and develop solutions, on the other hand. Overall, building systematic and strategic approaches are key to the adaptation of tourism sector to such emerging trends.

Third, it is essential to promote investment and financing for sustainable tourism. This requires different actions ranging from the improvement of data and analysis to capacity-building and improved coordination within government and policy areas. This is fundamental in order to ensure a smooth transition to practices that are more viable. This is for example what the ShapeTourism aimed at: providing analysis and operational tools to pinpoint at a methodology to shape and drive tourism sustainable growth in order to improve the tourism knowledge frameworks.

Learn more on the different issues addressed in this interesting report here.

Created in November 2016 within the framework of the Interreg MED Programme, the MED Sustainable Tourism Community gathers 18 territorial cooperation projects co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), and almost 200 organisations (public authorities, private companies, universities, NGOs and international organisations) active in twelve European-Mediterranean coastal areas.

Most notably, the Community’s members are leading the development of common tools to monitor the tourism industry, they are studying and testing new tourism models and they are actively engaging policy makers and managers in a constant dialogue to make tourism a real driver for sustainable development.

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