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To monitor the process of sustainable development and to improve the planning process there is a need to have indicators that help to evaluate and co-ordinate sustainable development. Indicators have been identified for all three aspects of sustainable tourism development - ecological, economic and social. The World Tourism Organisation (WTO) recently proposed the use of selected indicators for sustainable tourism. In order to be useful to tourism sector managers and administrators. The selected indicators are demand-driven; they respond to decision-makersí need to know and they are practical for most nations or regions.

Indicators should show the real performance in destinations, for example:

"The ratio of environmentally friendly arrivals" and not the "existence of pick-up systems from airports and train stations" which may not be used by tourists.

The indicators should allow us to derive comparable values for all destinations. Northern or mountain destinations, for instance, need more energy for the heating of accommodation and facilities than sun or beach destinations. It would not make sense to measure only the amount of energy used - as the values depend on the circumstances of the destination. If we look at that part of total energy use, which comes from renewable resources, we have a valid indicator for all destinations (Box: red marked text with energy indicators below).

A draft set of indicators was identified by the VISIT initiative and tested in 10 destinations all over Europe. The testing results led to the core set of indicators (pop-up window). They are recommended as "priority indicators" for which data are available or relatively easy to provide by the destination.


SUSTAIN: DeCyDe for Sustainability



Funded through the INTERREG IVC programme, SUSTAIN has been a 3-year project part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund. It was a Regional Initiative addressing environment and risk prevention (Priority 2 of the programme) and the sub-theme water management. The project budget
was €1.8m.
The objective of SUSTAIN was to create a fully implementable policy tool to help coastal authorities and communities throughout Europe to deliver sustainability on Europe’s coast. This tool will be applicable to all 22 coastal states of the European Union. It is based on a set of easily measurable sustainability indicators that were developed and assessed during the lifetime of the project to enable Authorities to
measure effectively the sustainability of our coasts.
The tool can ensure that integrated management of Europe’s coastal areas will be more sustainable in the long term. It can contribute to delivery of Europe’s renewed EU Sustainable Development Strategy which was adopted by the European Council in June 2006 and aimed at bringing about a high level of environmental protection, social equity and cohesion, economic prosperity and active promotion of sustainable
development worldwide.

Within the confines of a three year project, SUSTAIN has developed a straightforward policy tool with some interesting innovative components which allows for a rapid selfassessment of whether sustainability goals and targets are being reached.

DeCyDe-for-Sustainability is a user-friendly, spreadsheetbased, self-assessment, decision-support tool which gives a numerical value to individual indicators. It comprises three separate components: setting strategic targets from within existing policy; applying a sustainability indicator set; and applying the decision support tool. Thereafter, the strategic targets can be re-visited and the process repeated every few years.

DeCyDe has three self-contained and inter-related phases: find the data relating to the indicators, score the indicators based upon the data, weight the Pillars and Issues.

SUSTAIN offers two sets of Indicators differing from the more
traditional approach of applying a fixed, standard indicator
set. These are:-

  • CORE indicators which should be used at all times where
    relevant data is available. They are considered to cover
    essential aspects of coastal sustainability.
  • OPTIONAL indicators which reflect local/regional
    specificities and which can be implemented and adjusted
    according to the local/regional circumstances.

These indicators have been robustly selected using criteria such as relevance to sustainability, availability of data and their ability to be scored. This approach provides a policy maker with a degree of flexibility so that indicators can be tailored to the needs of the strategic goals of the authority. The indicators represent the four pillars of sustainability: governance, economics, environmental quality and social well-being. In order to show their relevance to sustainability the different indicators have been grouped into a number of Issues. In total, there are 22 key Issues broken down as

Governance 5 issues
Economics 4 issues
Environmental quality 8 issues
Social Well-being 5 issues