Metrics for Sustainable Tourism: A Benchmarking Analysis

This report, the result of a research partnership between the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise and GreenBiz Group, was completed for the Sustainable Tourism Summit at the 2018 VERGE Hawaii Asia Pacific Clean Energy Summit.

Travel and tourism is one of the world’s largest industries, with a global economic contribution (direct, indirect and induced) of over $7.6 trillion in 2016, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council. The direct economic impact of the industry (including accommodation, transportation, entertainment and attractions) was approximately $2.3 trillion that year.

As we have seen in other industries, there are many opportunities for lightening the environmental footprint associated with operating the hotels, airlines, restaurants, attractions, and other features of tourist destinations. That is only one way to measure success. The travel and tourism industry is uniquely positioned to have a positive (and still measurable) effect on communities and cultures and the environment.

To provide perspectives on where the industry needs to go, we spoke with representatives from nine leading firms in the industry, specifically in the accommodation, transport and foodservice sub-sectors.

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