On 4 May 2023, the International Social Tourism Organisation (ISTO) hosted a successful work meeting in Brussels to discuss "Measuring Social Sustainability in Tourism." The event was attended by some 40 participants from 12 different European countries, including representatives from the European Commission's DG Grow.
The meeting began with welcome words from Yves Godin, Secretary General of ISTO, as well as from ISTO President Isabel Novoa and ISTO Europe President Muriel Antoniotti. Charles Bélanger, ISTO Director, then gave an introduction to the background, definition, and fields of application of social sustainability in tourism.
Elfa Kere, Policy Officer - Tourism from the European Commission's DG Grow, presented the social component of the Transition Pathway for Tourism. This was followed by presentations from different regions and countries, including Catalunya, Wallonia, and Portugal, who shared their experiences working on social indicators in tourism. The presentations generated lively discussions among participants, who shared their own perspectives and proposals for indicators.
One of the highlights of the meeting was the identification of common indicators, which will be crucial in promoting social sustainability in tourism. Participants agreed on the importance of collaboration and the need for a common framework that can guide stakeholders in measuring and promoting social sustainability in tourism.
The meeting also contributed to the ongoing efforts of ISTO to develop an "Observatory of Fair and Sustainable Tourism for All." This project aims to collect data, share knowledge, and promote good practices relevant to the sector. The work meeting was a key step in this direction, as it helped identify common indicators and foster collaboration among stakeholders.
It is worth noting that a similar meeting will take place on May 17, 2023, in Oaxtepec (Mexico), as part of the "Encuentro de las Américas de Turismo Social." The meeting will provide an opportunity to gather perspectives from public authorities in the Americas and include them in the development of common indicators and the Observatory.