The UNWTO is aiming to launch a new technique of measuring the impact of tourism and its advantage to a country’s economic and social wellbeing next month.

Taleb Rifai, the UNWTO Secretary General said that they would be launching the Measurement of Sustainable Tourism (MST) index as a tool that would take a holistic look at tourism’s impact on communities and the economy. For years, countries have depended on the ‘numbers game’ and more arrivals for measuring the success of tourism, the sustainability of tourism and the impact of travel on the environment.

Deepak Raj Joshi, CEO of the Nepal Tourism Board, said that Nepal has restricted travel to certain areas due to over-visitation. Hiran Cooray, Chairman of Jetwing Hotels, said that Sri Lanka has strict environment protection laws where a sewage treatment plant is obligatory in every hotel.

Renewable energy plants in hotels are also encouraged by the government. Mirza Mohamed Taiyab, Director General of Tourism Malaysia, said that although Malaysia has an advantage of a small population in a large land mass with natural bounty, the government conducted an eco-tourism survey for examining how best tourism should be developed while ensuring communities benefit.

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