Measuring the Sustainability of Tourism in Germany – Development of a Tourism Sustainability Satellite Account

On behalf of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) and the German Environment Agency (UBA), the consortium consisting of DIW Econ, adelphi, dwif-Tourismusberatung, BTE Tourismus- und Regionalberatung as well as Prof Dr Wolfgang Strasdas and his team from the Eberswalde University for Sustainable Development investigated the question of how tourism in Germany can be subjected to a systematic evaluation with regard to its sustainable development.

The result is a first feasibility study for a Tourism Sustainability Satellite Account (TSSA), which is essentially based on the statistical frameworks of the National Accounts (NA) and the Environmental-Economic Accounts (EEA).

To measure sustainability in German tourism, 18 sustainability criteria central to tourism were identified. With the help of the TSSA, it is now possible to systematically assign the economic, ecological and social impacts of tourism to the tourism-relevant economic sectors at the national level.

The TSSA indicators have already been filled with the currently available data on a test basis. They show that tourism in Germany contributes significantly to value creation and job creation, although labour productivity is low. In terms of ecological impacts, the climate effects are in the foreground with a slightly above-average greenhouse gas intensity compared to the economy as a whole, which, however, varies greatly within the tourism sub-sectors. Working conditions are generally considered less sustainable compared to other sectors. Only the pay gap between men and women is significantly lower than in other sectors of the economy.

Some sustainability areas could not be included in the concept for a TSSA so far due to a lack of data. Therefore, the project was extended by two years to identify further indicators to continuously improve the system for quantifying the sustainable development of tourism in cooperation with the Eberswalde University for Sustainable Development.

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