The ETC Releases a Sustainable Tourism Plan for Europe

Leading up to the IPBN Sustainability Conference on March 16-18, we are celebrating green initiatives taking place. To that end, let's take a look at what is happening in Europe as the tourism sector.

On March 3, 2021 the European Travel Commission (ETC), representing 32 national tourism organisations in Europe, published a new handbook ‘Sustainable Tourism Implementation: Framework and Toolkit’ – an ultimate roadmap for European destinations on how to tackle every step on a journey towards sustainable transformation. The handbook presents a seven-step framework which provides a practical guidance on how to advance sustainable tourism development for all European destinations regardless of how far they have progressed on their path with the ultimate aim of improving sustainability outcomes.

The new ETC handbook builds an urgent case for change, outlining the potential burdens of tourism development on communities, ecosystems and climate. It also describes the numerous benefits of adopting sustainable tourism practices at a national level. Not only can destinations improve environmental quality and conserve natural and culture assets, but they can also increase the benefits of tourism for residents – all while enhancing competitiveness by delivering an innovative product that is highly in travellers’ demand.

The framework is built as a modular approach towards sustainable tourism development on a national level. Each of the seven steps is broken down into activities that act as a practical instruction, a “how to” towards more sustainable tourism. It is a tried and tested process that will guide the reader through challenges of sustainable transition. The handbook also includes best practices, top tips, useful links, checklists, templates and interesting facts to demystify sustainable tourism and support the development of national approaches.

Following the publication, Luís Araújo, ETC’s President, said: “The traditional model of tourism – the way the sector has developed in Europe over the past 50 years – is at a tipping point. When it comes to tourism management, it is imperative to integrate sustainability into national strategies and ensure that this goes beyond tokenism, to make a real and tangible difference at all levels. European destinations are committed to developing more sustainable forms of tourism, and they understand the potential for sustainability schemes to enhance Europe’s reputation, attractiveness, and visitor experiences.”

This practical tool was produced by a consortium of expert organisations – GoodPlace Slovenia, GreenCase Consulting and the Travel Foundation - with guidance from ETC and its members. The toolkit responds to findings from ETC’s previous report on European Sustainability Schemes, which identified a knowledge gap and a need to provide more practical guidance in this area.

The handbook is freely available at:; the toolkit can be downloaded at:

Registration for the IPBN Sustainability conference is still open and we invite you to join us as we hear from our panel of experts on what else is slated to take place in the future and what possibilities might be on the table for Portugal and Europe at large. Register today here!

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