Tourism and the SDGs

On 25 September 2015, the United Nations General Assembly approved the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and with it the Sustainable Development Goals, a framework comprising 17 goals and 169 targets, through which States, civil society, and private sector can guide and measure their contributions to sustainable development towards 2030.

The development agenda is the most ambitious to date and the 17 goals are a universal call to action to eradicate poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity. The goals are interconnected - often the key to success on one will involve tackling issues more commonly associated with another.

The economic relevance of tourism, representing up to 10% of the world’s GDP and employment, makes harnessing its full potential essential for the advancement of the SDGs. Tourism can contribute directly or indirectly to the achievement of all 17 SDGs, due to its cross-cutting nature and global reach. Specifically, tourism appears in the targets of Goals 8, 12 and 14 (see below). Achieving these goals requires a clear implementation framework with adequate funding and investment in technology, infrastructure and human resources.  

Goal 8
Goal 8, promotes “sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all” and includes target 8.9: "by 2030, devise and implement policies to promote sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products."
Goal 12
Goal 12, aims at “ensuring sustainable Consumption and Production patterns”. It comprises target 12.b: "Develop and implement tools to monitor sustainable development impacts for sustainable tourism which creates jobs, promotes local culture and products."
Goal 14
The focus of Goal 14 is to “conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development”. The target 14.7 reads: "by 2030 increase the economic benefits of SIDS and LCDs from the sustainable use of marine resources, including through sustainable management of fisheries, aquaculture and tourism."



The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), is devoting efforts to contribute to the achievement of the SDGs, especially regarding the goals which explicitly mention tourism (Goals 8, 12 and 14). Aside from UNWTO’s technical assistance and training initiatives, it launched the ‘Tourism4SDGs’ Platform ( in late July with the support of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs of Switzerland.

The platform aims for policy makers, international organizations, academia, donors, companies and all tourism stakeholders to engage in SDG implementation strategies. is a co-creation space that allows users to access a wide range of resources, add their own initiatives, findings and projects, motivate discussion and collaboration, and share content related to tourism and sustainable development. The platform’s three main features, Learn, Share and Act, are also calls for action, conversation and collaboration towards a sustainable tourism sector.