Converting Destinations and Tourism Industry in Sustainable

Working towards a more sustainable tourism

Working towards a more sustainable tourism

Working towards a more sustainable tourism

What does Responsible Tourism Institute stand for?

The Responsible Tourism Institute is an independent organization and its goal is the implementation of actions and programs for sustainable development in the tourism industry. For this purpose, RTI follows the recommendations of the United Nations World Summit on Sustainable Development (2015), which adopted the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), as well as the guidelines of the World Charter on Sustainable Tourism + 20 and the Paris Climate Summit.

The Responsible Tourism Institute created and developed the Responsible Tourism System (STR), which is recognized under the brand BIOSPHERE RESPONSIBLE TOURISM. This certification emerged as the answer to establish criteria for sustainable behavior in the international tourist business. Therefore, the STR promotes sustainable tourism products. Currently the RTI maintains a Memorandum of Understanding with UNESCO and is affiliated to the World Tourism OrganizationUNWTO, and member of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC). It has also been awarded several prizes, such as the "Global Awards Sport and Tourism", "European Environment Award", a special mention in the "Green Wood Award for Environmental Responsibility"(2005) and "The International Award Environment and Sustainable Development " issued by TUI AG.


The year 2017 can be a great step in integrating, in a balanced way, the different objectives and goals to be achieved in the different disciplines on which a Sustainable Human Development should be based. A new agenda ("Transforming Our World: A Sustainable Development Agenda 2030") was adopted at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in September 2015. Through these 17 objectives it is proposed, essentially, to fight against poverty, inequality and injustice, as well as to combat climate change.

 In turn, the World Charter for Sustainable Tourism +20 is presented in this 2017 as the great international reference where the main players in sustainable tourism reflected a new impulse to move towards the goals set. The Charter marks the beginning of a long process of concertation to consolidate in practice the global transition towards sustainable tourism, consistent with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in 2015 and the commitments of COP21.

As a fundamental part of this necessary awareness on sustainable tourism in this International Year, the Responsible Tourism Institute launches the #TOURISM17 campaign, an initiative that aims to promote sustainability not as a strategic element of tourism agents, but as a new model of tourism development on which to bet decisively.

Learn more about the #Tourism17 Initiative

2017 Conferences

Sustainable Tourism for Development of Cities in the Framework of the New Urban Agenda

May 18 and 19

Cities represent a priority area of application of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, especially of the objective 11 and with a greater emphasis in the ones related to: ‘Sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for everyone’ and ‘ensuring sustainable consumption and production patterns’.


sustainable tourism cities



sustainable holiday destinations


Sustainability and Competitiveness in Holiday Destinations

June 15 and 16

Holiday Destinations must get involved in the strategic role that Sustainability will play in consolidating a sustainable and stable competitive positioning in the future world tourism market. The Conference aims to provide an international model of sustainability applied to tourist destinations that facilitates its rapid integration in their operational management


Sustainability as a Key Competitive Factor in the Tourism Industry

October 19 and 20

At present, tourism turnover equals or even exceeds that of exports of oil, food products or automobiles. One of the facets that will mark the near future of the industry's commitment will be to increase capacities to bring benefits to communities and to sustainable local development within the framework of a just economy.



sustainable tourism industry


The Responsible Tourism System (RTS) is an international system focused on seeking tourism sustainability, developed by the Responsible Tourism Institute through a set of guidelines that establish concrete, identifiable and measurable goals.

The Responsible Tourism Institute (RTI) is an entity linked to UNESCO through a Memorandum of Understanding and an associated member of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), as well as being a founding member of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), an organization sponsored by the United Nations Foundation. It was conceived at the request of the UN following the first World Conference on Sustainable Tourism (1995), an historic meeting in which UNESCO, UNEP, the European Commission and UNWTO supported the creation of the World Charter on Sustainable Tourism from which the Responsible Tourism Institute was born.

 Turismo Sostenible e Inclusivo en los Destinos Vacacionales y los ODS

Twenty years later, following the UN World Summit on Sustainable Development (2015), which adopted the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), the RTI promoted the celebration of a new World Summit on Sustainable Tourism, which again had the support of the same international organizations for the adaptation of global sustainability criteria to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, this time adopting the World Charter on Sustainable Tourism +20.

The Responsible Tourism Institute is responsible of promoting tourist models that contribute effectively to the maintenance and protection of heritage, cultural and natural assets of the destinations. Its ultimate goal is to promote sustainable development within the tourism industry and encourage the use of the endogenous capacities of each destination and host community. The recognition of these efforts by the Administrations and entities involved consists of the BIOSPHERE TOURISM© seal, through which the work carried out is acknowledged.

The BIOSPHERE TOURISM© Seal is a system for measuring sustainability, aiming to act as a tool for continuous improvement and thus recognize this commitment of tourist destinations, companies and services. Positioning a destination, company or tourist service as sustainable requires the adoption of an integrated planning and management perspective of the entire tourism system, so that current and future needs are met, while maintaining cultural integrity, social cohesion and essential ecological processes. The BIOSPHERE TOURISM© standard for Tourist Destinations is the only one in the world aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), as well as with the COP21 Paris Agreement to Combat Climate Change and the World Charter Sustainable Tourism +20.


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World Charter for Sustainable Tourism +20

Carta Mundial de Turismo Sostenible +20 (2015)

In 1995 the Charter for Sustainable Tourism was adopted at the first World Conference on Sustainable Tourism, held on the island of Lanzarote (Spain). This historic action took place under the auspices of UNESCO, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the leading associated international organisations and related programmes, such as the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the MAB Programme (Man and the Biosphere), the World Heritage Centre, the European Commission and the United Nations Division for Sustainable Development. The conference saw the birth of the term and the concept of Sustainable Tourism, which, along with the Declaration, was a significant shift in the tourism industry and the carrying out of tourism towards more responsible ways of conducting and conceiving this activity.

Twenty years later, major changes have occurred in today’s world and in the travel and tourism industry, obliging us to rethink and update the terms and objectives of the initial declaration in order to give new drive and meaning to the commitment to sustainability in this key sector.

The World Summit on Sustainable Tourism (ST+20) was therefore the major event of 2015 to bring together the key actors in sustainable tourism in the search for a new drive to work towards its goals.

World Charter for Sustainable Tourism +20