PHOTO(S): © Mike Theiss/National Geographic Stock
Coastal and marine tourism is a vital part of a country’s economy. This goal measures participation in sustainable tourism to coastal regions.
This year’s analysis provided insight into the pandemic’s impact on global tourism.
This year, the data we used to for tourism sustainability was from the from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) and the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) new Travel and Tourism Development Index (TTDI). Sustainabiliyt was based on three pillars: Environmental Sustainability, Socio-economic Resilience and Conditions, and Travel and Tourism Demand Pressure and Impact. Scores generally increased among assessment regions from 2019 to 2021.
The other component of this goal is the amount of direct employment in the tourism sector as reported by WTTC. Unsurprisingly, the pandemic resulted in a large decrease in tourism employment from 2019 to 2020. During this period, employment decreased in every single region for which data were available, but island nations were the hardest hit. The three largest decreases occurred in the Bahamas (-12.8), Aruba (-8.8), and Seychelles (-7.5), and the list goes on for a while before a non-island nation shows up. Fortunately employment rebounded, albeit less dramatic, the following year — presumably as a result of vaccine roll outs and general border re-openings. From 2020 to 2021, regions in the assessment saw a mean increase of 0.46 percentage points of direct employment in tourism. The top three largest increases in percentage points occurred in Aruba (+5.2), the Bahamas (+4.4), and Saint Lucia (+2.1).
In general, the countries with the lowest scores have unsafe or unappealing conditions owing to poverty, political turmoil, war or other volatile conditions and their scores will likely be depressed until those fundamental conditions improve. Once these conditions are resolved, improvements to Tourism and Recreation can occur rapidly. In Sri Lanka, 2009 marked the end of a 25 year civil war, and since then the proportion of people employed in tourism has more than doubled.