Sustainable tourism resources

How to measure tourism impacts?

How to measure tourism impacts
What should a purpose-driven tourism business be measuring and how? An overview of the key impact measurement frameworks.


The idea of measuring business results is nothing new. Every profit-driven travel business keeps track of its success using Key Performance Indicators, most often related to money (profit, revenues) and pax numbers.

However, measuring the wider economic, social and environmental impacts of tourism has taken on more importance only in the 21st century, in the last few years in particular. This is a response to a growing interest in corporate social responsibility, pro bono activities, sustainable development, and the rise of purpose-driven businesses and social enterprises. While more and more tourism businesses try to minimise their negative and maximise their positive impacts in communities, the question arises: How do we know whether we’re doing any good? And will the “good” last any longer?

For the first time this year, WTM Responsible Tourism Awards introduced a separate Award category for Transparent Reporting. This shows that transparency and reporting in the tourism sector are becoming a crucial part of sustainability management, and hopefully soon — an industry standard.

While measuring tourism impacts on a destination level is quite common, impact measurement and reporting by private tourism businesses are still rare and fragmented…

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