Maldives and the New Global Standard for Sustainable Tourism

Maldives, a nation heavily reliant on tourism, stands to benefit greatly from a recent breakthrough by the UN. A groundbreaking statistical framework, developed under the leadership of UNWTO (United Nations World Tourism Organization/UN Tourism), has been adopted by all 193 UN member states.

This new framework, the Statistical Framework for Measuring the Sustainability of Tourism (MST), becomes the internationally agreed-upon way to measure the impact of tourism on the Maldivian economy, society, and environment.

What is the MST?

The MST is a comprehensive system for measuring how tourism activities affect a destination in three key areas:

  • Economy: Tracks how tourism contributes to jobs, investment, and overall economic growth.
  • Society: Measures the impact of tourism on local communities, including cultural preservation and resident well-being.
  • Environment: Assesses the environmental footprint of tourism, including energy use, waste generation, and impact on natural resources.

By providing a standardized way to collect and analyze data, the MST allows destinations like the Maldives to:

  • Move beyond GDP: The MST goes beyond just measuring economic growth (GDP) to consider the bigger picture.
  • Make data-driven decisions: The Maldives can use MST data to develop sustainable tourism policies that benefit both the industry and the country.
  • Track progress towards sustainability goals: The MST allows the Maldives to measure its progress on environmental and social sustainability goals.

The Maldives can play a leading role in implementing this new framework. Here’s how:

  • Pilot programs: The Maldives can participate in pilot programs to test and refine the MST. This will help ensure the framework is effective in an island nation context.
  • Data collection: The Maldivian government can work with tourism businesses and local communities to collect data required by the MST. This will require collaboration and capacity building.
  • Sharing best practices: The Maldives can share its experiences with other island nations looking to promote sustainable tourism.

By actively participating in implementing the MST, the Maldives can position itself as a leader in sustainable tourism. This will not only benefit the environment and local communities but also ensure the long-term viability of the Maldivian tourism industry.