The Destination Sustainability Index: a new index that will allow the measurement of the sustainability level of touristic destinations

In line with the 17 UN sustainable development goals (SDGs), the proposals made by the WTO for the measurement of tourism sustainability and the data set indicated by the European Tourism Indicator System (ETSI), the Data Appeal Company has created the Destination Sustainability Index (DSI). It is an index aimed at measuring and monitoring the impact and effectiveness of the actions taken by any world destination in terms of sustainability. 

This is because tourism plays a decisive role in the climate crisis, as it is responsible for 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Therefore, it will be among the first industries to suffer from the climate change: according to the report commissioned by the Government to the Ca ‘Foscari University of Venice, a rise of 2% in temperatures could lead to a 15% reduction in the tourist flow due to the snow melting and the erosion of beaches. For this reason, it is fundamental to move toward a sustainable tourism, based on a synergic cooperation between tourism enterprises and travelers, to reduce the negative impact of tourism on environment. 

To create the DSI, the Data Appeal Company has used its huge data lake combined with dozens of data sources, satellite resources, national education reports and official transport statistics. For instance, the index uses data as air quality, CO2 levels, climate change, population density, inhabitants’ health and psycho-physical well-being, quality of education and of public transport to understand the state of the art of the destinations, the effectiveness of the actions undertaken and to plan future ones. As a result, the DSI is now able to measure some fundamental aspects of tourism sustainability.

Concerning the environment, the index measures the reduction of human impact on environment and the conservation of biodiversity; the ability of tourism businesses to embrace policies aimed at energy saving, to use non-polluting products and to recycle. With reference to economy, it evaluates the effect of tourism on the local economic ecosystem growth and on local population well-being; the ability of companies to correlate productivity with sustainability and to offer fair wages and responsibilities without discrimination of gender, age and culture or religion. Moreover, the index evaluates the impact of tourism on society, specifically on local inhabitants. Finally, in the field of governance, the index measures the capability to manage policies aimed at promoting the environmental and cultural sustainability of businesses and locals and the ability to promote and coordinate initiatives focused on sustainable tourism.

To conclude, the DSI, that can be integrated directly into any existing business intelligence platform via API, will allow the monitoring and measuring of the sustainable initiatives and will contribute to the building of effective actions aimed at improving the quality of life, protecting the environment and the ecosystems and preserving natural resources for future generations. In fact, a sustainable destination improves the quality of life of its inhabitants and visitors, is more productive and reduces management and operational costs, offers healthier environment, and builds a more attractive image for tourists and international talents.

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