Last year, 1.2 billion travellers went travelling, according to the World Tourism Organization, the United Nations agency responsible for the promotion of sustainable tourism, and this number is expected to rise to 1.8 billion by 2030. While this places pressure on our planet, international tourism also brings significant economic benefits to local communities, many of whom rely on it.

World Tourism Day is held every 27 September to raise awareness of the contribution that tourism can make to sustainable development. This year’s theme, “Tourism and the Digital Transformation”, highlights the importance of digital technologies in the tourism industry and how they can contribute to sustainable development through such things as local community empowerment and efficient resource management.

ISO International Standards support innovation and technology by providing a common language and agreed best practices that avoid reinventing the wheel, thus freeing up valuable time and resources for creativity and inventive work. They also lay down accepted frameworks from which innovation can flourish.

What’s more, ISO’s portfolio boasts a number of standards that serve as important tools to help key players in the tourism industry improve their contribution to sustainable development. These include standards by ISO technical committee ISO/TC 228Tourism and related services. One example is technical specification ISO/TS 13811, Tourism and related services – Guidelines on developing environmental specifications for accommodation establishments, which helps organizations reduce the negative impacts of tourism accommodation on the natural environment.

The committee is currently working on other important standards that contribute directly to sustainable development within tourism. These include:

  • ISO 21401, Tourism and related services – Sustainability management system for accommodation establishments – Requirements
  • ISO 20611, Adventure tourism – Good practices for sustainability – Requirements and recommendations
  • ISO 21416, Recreational diving services – Requirements and guidance on sustainable practices in recreational diving

Learn more about ISO standards for tourism in this short, engaging video:

Video: International Standards for sustainable tourism
International Standards for sustainable tourism