2023 - SDG Midterm Stocktaking | The Agenda 2030 and Tourism
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    2023 - SDG Midterm Stocktaking

    2023 marks the midterm of the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development. With its 17 Sustainable Development Goals, the agenda – which was adopted eight years ago – marks an important reference framework for sustainable development worldwide.

    In 2023, the United Nations and its members draw a sobering midterm balance. Of the 169 sub-goals, more than half are seriously behind schedule, and more than 30 percent have even regressed – especially in the areas of poverty and hunger reduction, as well as climate and environmental protection.

    What role does the tourism industry play in all of this? Connecting to other industries such as infrastructure, gastronomy and culture, tourism is a highly cross-cutting sector accounting for about 10% of global GDP in 2019. The industry is expected to almost recover to pre-pandemic levels in 2023. While certain sustainable tourism trends emerged over the course of the pandemic – such as a tendency towards nature-based travel – the negative pre-pandemic trends are back on track: mass tourism, overtourism and the ignorance towards social or environmental carrying capacities.

    These are very disconcerting developments, and although tourism is only explicitly mentioned in SDGs 8, 12 and 14, the sustainable transformation of tourism is a prerequisite to the achievement of any of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It is against this backdrop that we published the Compendium on Tourism in the 2030 Agenda in 2017. In light of this year’s UN SDG Summit, we are reflecting on the developments throughout the past few years and the ways forward. To this end, we asked TTI members or affiliates – from civil society groups and activists to academics – to share their thoughts with us.

    The results add to the sobering picture of the broader SDG midterm review and go to show that the tourism sector is equally “off track” when it comes to making progress towards the SDGs. At the same time, the contributions show that avenues towards progress continue to exist. It is still possible to transform tourism and, in doing so, contribute to the wider goal of achieving the SDGs. The following authors’ contributions aim to shed light on the road we must take to get there.

    • SDG 4: Education. Educational Travel Experiences For A Sustainable World. By Sumesh Mangalassery (Kabani)

    • SDG 13: Climate Action. Summary of the Report “Envisioning Tourism in 2030 & Beyond.“ By Paul Peeters (professor at BUas) and Ben Lynam (head of communications at the Travel Foundation).
    • SDG 15: Life on Land. Glimpses of its implementation at the mid-term point of the 2030 Agenda. By Cornelia Kühhas (respect_NFI | Naturefriends International)
    • SDG 16a: Justice and Strong Institutions. Promote Peaceful and Inclusive Societies for Sustainable Development, Provide Access to Justice for All and Build Effective, Accountable and Inclusive Institutions at All Levels. By Andy Rutherford (Fresh Eyes – People to People Travel)
    • SDG 16b: Peace. Building Peace Through Tourism For Those Who Cannot Travel. By Maria Youngsin Lim (Imagine Peace)
    • SDG 16c: Child Protection. Responsible tourism companies and sustainable development. By Nelson Rivera & Sergio Rivera (Fundación Renacer - ECPAT Colombia)