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Background of the Centre

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO for short) has been promoting the use of sustainable tourism indicators since the early 1990s. In order to further promote sustainable tourism development worldwide, UNWTO launched the concept of the Global Observatory of Sustainable Tourism (GOST for short) based on the UNWTO methodology for sustainable tourism indicators. GOST intends to facilitate the establishment of a network of observatories at all levelsthrough the use of a systematic application of monitoring, evaluation (sustainable tourism indicators) and information management techniques, as key tools for the formulation and implementation of sustainable tourism policies, strategies, plans and management processes.

In 2004, UNWTO and the Guilin Municipal Government of China reached an agreement of collaboration on promoting sustainable tourism in Guilin with the establishment of an observatory in Yangshuo County. Sun Yat-Sen University (SYSU for short) was entrusted by UNWTO to take charge of monitoring the sustainable development of Yangshuo’s tourism for three years. Since then, SYSU has successfully carried out the monitoring activities and three annual reports from 2006 - 2008 have been prepared based on the findings of managing the Yangshuo Observatory.

In September 28th, 2010, UNWTO signed the Agreement with SYSU to set up the “Monitoring Centre for UNWTO Sustainable Tourism Observatories” (The Centre for short) to facilitate the establishing, managing and monitoring process of the existing and future sustainable tourism observatories in China and possibly in the Asia-Pacific region.

Nature of the Centre

The Centre is a specialized organization in sustainable tourism monitoring under the auspices of UNWTO. And it is under the overall responsibility of SYSU in administrative and legal terms.

Main Objectives of the Centre

The Centre’s main objectives include:

  • Take charge of the monitoring activities in all existing and future UNWTO observatories in China and at a later stage, if conditions are met, in the Asia-Pacific region on the basis of the UNWTO methodology for sustainable tourism indicators.
  • Collect and compile good practices of sustainable tourism development on the basis of UNWTO methodology for sustainable tourism indicators.
  • Coordinate the production of the UNWTO/SYSU Observatory Monitoring Report on an annual basis and disseminate the information to other destinations of the world.
  • Provide recommendations for the improvement of the methodological framework of the UNWTO sustainable tourism indicators through accumulated experiences of monitoring the observatories.
  • Support capacity building activities related to the activities of the Centre.
  • Facilitate and coordinate networking and exchange opportunities among observatories in the region.
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