Sustainable tourism features at the UN High Level Political Forum 2023

Over the last year the Lab team have been working with the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) to develop an ESG Framework for tourism with the support of easyJet holidays.

At the 2023 UN High Level Political Forum in New York, Dr Edward Brooks was joined by Lab project coordinator Laura Ballerini and Matt Callaghan of easyJet holidays to speak at an event organised by Zoritsa Urosevic and Clara van der Pol on Economic, Social, and Environmental Sustainability in Tourism. 

Tourism faces real challenges but can be a powerful force for good. H.E. Kőrösi Csaba, President of the United Nations General Assembly, highlighted carbon emissions, consumption and waste as three significant challenges that the sector needs to address and spoke of the need for a bold shift to effect real transformation that moves beyond words to actions.

Robust research is essential. As Zoritsa Urosevic Head of the UNWTO, put it “science based evidence and new metrics for tourism are key for tourism governance, bold policies and innovative business models.”

Both public and private sector organisations need to play their part in moving from ambition to action. We heard from Edmund Bartlett, Rosana Morillo, Shri G. Kishan Reddy and Ivan Šimonović about sustainable tourism initiatives in Croatia, India, Jamaica and Spain and Matt Callaghan shared the award-winning work easyJet holidays are doing in the private sector.

Credible measurement of sustainable tourism is vital. Initiatives like the UNWTO’s Measuring Sustainable Tourism statistical framework and a harmonised ESG framework for tourism businesses have the potential to support important steps forward, keeping score of what matters, allowing effective benchmarking, establishing and building on best practice.

team photo