Tourism and related services — Sustainable tourism — Principles, vocabulary and model

This document specifies the fundamental concepts and principles of, and a model for, sustainable tourism. This document is applicable to private and public organizations and destinations, regardless of their size and location, plus other interested parties engaged in sustainable tourism development.

Tourisme et services connexes — Tourisme durable — Principes, vocabulaire et modèle

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Tourism and related services —
Sustainable tourism — Principles,
vocabulary and model
Tourisme et services connexes — Tourisme durable — Principes,
vocabulaire et modèle
Reference number
ISO 23405:2022(E)
© ISO 2022

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ISO 23405:2022(E)
© ISO 2022
All rights reserved. Unless otherwise specified, or required in the context of its implementation, no part of this publication may
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  © ISO 2022 – All rights reserved

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ISO 23405:2022(E)
Contents Page
Foreword .iv
Introduction .v
1 Scope . 1
2 Normative references . 1
3 Terms and definitions . 1
3.1 Terms related to sustainability . 1
3.2 Terms related to the environmental dimension of sustainability . 2
3.3 Terms related to the economic dimension of sustainability . 3
3.4 Terms related to the social dimension of sustainability . 3
3.5 Terms related to tourism destinations . 4
4 Principles of sustainable tourism . 5
4.1 Manage sustainable tourism effectively . 5
4.2 Guarantee the rights of local communities . 5
4.3 Conserve the natural environment and its biodiversity . 5
4.4 Consider cultural heritage and local values . 5
4.5 Stimulate the social and economic development of tourism destinations . 5
4.6 Guarantee the quality of products, processes and attitudes. 5
4.7 Provide for the health, safety and security of destinations . 6
4.8 Take legal compliance into consideration . 6
4.9 Prepare for emergencies and establish response procedures . 6
5 Sustainable tourism model .6
5.1 General . 6
5.2 Sustainable tourism model . 6
Annex A (informative) Principles of sustainable tourism and the Sustainable Development
Goals (SDGs) .8
Bibliography .10
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ISO 23405:2022(E)
ISO (the International Organization for Standardization) is a worldwide federation of national standards
bodies (ISO member bodies). The work of preparing International Standards is normally carried out
through ISO technical committees. Each member body interested in a subject for which a technical
committee has been established has the right to be represented on that committee. International
organizations, governmental and non-governmental, in liaison with ISO, also take part in the work.
ISO collaborates closely with the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) on all matters of
electrotechnical standardization.
The procedures used to develop this document and those intended for its further maintenance are
described in the ISO/IEC Directives, Part 1. In particular, the different approval criteria needed for the
different types of ISO documents should be noted. This document was drafted in accordance with the
editorial rules of the ISO/IEC Directives, Part 2 (see
Attention is drawn to the possibility that some of the elements of this document may be the subject of
patent rights. ISO shall not be held responsible for identifying any or all such patent rights. Details of
any patent rights identified during the development of the document will be in the Introduction and/or
on the ISO list of patent declarations received (see
Any trade name used in this document is information given for the convenience of users and does not
constitute an endorsement.
For an explanation of the voluntary nature of standards, the meaning of ISO specific terms and
expressions related to conformity assessment, as well as information about ISO's adherence to
the World Trade Organization (WTO) principles in the Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT), see
This document was prepared by Technical Committee ISO/TC 228, Tourism and related services.
Any feedback or questions on this document should be directed to the user’s national standards body. A
complete listing of these bodies can be found at
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ISO 23405:2022(E)
In the past 10 years sustainability has become a subject of great importance for the tourism sector.
Numerous factors have contributed to the fast growth of sustainability as a need. Accommodation
establishments, tour operators, restaurants, tourist attractions and others have applied strategies,
communications processes, standards and certifications schemes. The global interest in environmental
and sociocultural themes has increased the desire of tourists to experience more sustainable services
and products.
Sustainability in tourism is almost always addressed from the perspective of environmental protection,
CO emissions reduction and care in the consumption of energy and water. Sometimes there is also a
concern with social issues, involving local communities or economic aspects, which basically involves
the viability of businesses.
However, despite this increasing interest, today most organizations understand sustainability in
different ways. Different approaches have been adopted by organizations and digital platforms help to
spread all types of information about sustainable tourism.
Today it is possible to identify more than a hundred references – private, public, international, regional
and national – that naturally present many different concepts and understanding about sustainable
Additionally, both ISO 21401 and ISO 20611 contain concepts about sustainable tourism.
In 2015, the United Nations General Assembly approved the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
and with it the Sustainable Development Goals, a framework comprising 17 goals. Tourism is an
economic powerhouse and can play a significant role in delivering sustainable solutions for people, the
planet, prosperity and peace.
Therefore, it is acknowledged that there are a lot of challenges for sustainable development but that one
of them is critical: the recognition of the minimal principles for sustainable tourism and a definition of
a common understanding.
These principles are the basis for the sustainable development of tourism and should be taken into
account as much as possible by interested parties.
Worldwide it is recognized that tourist destinations select development models that can respond to
either supply or demand. Both of them have their attributes, and destinations choose them according to
their interests, tastes, preferences and strategies.
Some characteristics of the demand model are spontaneous growth, emphasis on natural attractions
and a single-minded focus on wealth generation by, in the main, tourism businesses, accompanied by an
intensive use of resources (natural and human), large investment, quicker returns on investment and
low spillover effect. The destination is normally designed and based on icons to attract visitors.
On the other hand, the supply model is characterized by controlled growth, the emphasis not just on
protecting the environment but also making the processes fully sustainable. Businesses are concerned
about profitability but also care about improving the quality of life in their communities. In addition,
the tourist experience is enhanced by high-quality services throughout the visit, the spillover effect
is higher, investment is smaller and there is a slower return on investment. Finally, the destination
designs products rather than attractions.
No matter which of the models is been applied, both should seek recognition as the “archetype” of a
sustainable destination. In addition, destinations should look for the highest spillover effect so that the
local and national economies benefit directly, meaning that a high percentage of tourism expenditure
remains in the surrounding communities, with a direct positive impact on improving the quality of life
of people and relieving poverty.
Businesses need to demonstrate their commitment not only to the environment but also to sustainability
globally. Good practices guide businesses to identify, assess and mitigate any negative impacts to the
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ISO 23405:2022(E)
environment, social fabric and local culture, while maintaining a high quality of service and protecting
their employees and addressing the needs and expectations of their interested parties. Sustainability
is generally incorporated as a transversal axis in all public or private business policies, improving
innovation and competitiveness as a key to maintain leadership. Sustainable tourism can be a way of
being and living, not a way of doing.
This document is intended to provide a common and sound basis for the process of sustainable
development for all interested parties and to increase the expected potential benefits for the tourism
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Tourism and related services — Sustainable tourism —
Principles, vocabulary and model
1 Scope
This document specifies the fundamental concepts and principles of, and a model for, sustainable
tourism. This document is applicable to private and public organizations and destinations, regardless
of their size and location, plus other interested parties engaged in sustainable tourism development.
2 Normative references
There are no normative references in this document.
3 Terms and definitions
For the purposes of this document, the following terms and definitions apply.
ISO and IEC maintain terminology databases for use in standardization at the following addresses:
— ISO Online browsing platform: available at https:// www .iso .org/ obp
— IEC Electropedia: available at https:// www .electropedia .org/
3.1 Terms related to sustainability
state of the global system, including environmental, social and economic aspects, in which the needs
of the present are met without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs
Note 1 to entry: The environmental, social and economic aspects interact, are interdependent and are often
referred to as the three dimensions of sustainability.
Note 2 to entry: Sustainability is the goal of sustainable development (3.1.2).
[SOURCE: ISO Guide 82:2019, 3.1]
sustainable development
organizing principle for achieving human development goals while at the same time sustaining the
ability of natural systems to provide the natural resources and ecosystem services upon which the
economy and society depend
Note 1 to entry: The desired result is a state of society where living conditions and resources are used to continue
to meet human needs without undermining the integrity and stability of the natural system.
Note 2 to entry: Sustainable development can be defined as development that meets the needs of the present
without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
sustainable tourism
tourism sector that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental
impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, employees, the industry, host communities and climate change
among others, while working closely with interested parties on the implementation of sustainability
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ISO 23405:2022(E)
sustainability aspect
activities, elements, practices, products or services of organizations and other providers in the tourism
sector which can interact with the dimensions of sustainability (environmental, social and economic)
Note 1 to entry: A significant aspect of sustainability is one that has or can have a significant impact.
Note 2 to entry: Some examples of sustainability aspects are energy consumption, solid waste generation,
recyclable packaging and water consumption.
sustainability objective
intent to achieve global sustainability, resulting from the sustainability policy that an enterprise or
destination sets itself to achieve, being quantified whenever possible
impact on sustainability
change to the environment, society or economy, wholly or partially resulting from an organization's
sustainability aspects
Note 1 to entry: Impacts on sustainability can be adverse or beneficial.
3.2 Terms related to the environmental dimension of sustainability
climate change adaptation
process of adjustment to actual or expected climate and its effects
Note 1 to entry: In human systems, adaptation seeks to moderate or avoid harm or exploit beneficial opportunities.
Note 2 to entry: In some natural systems, human intervention can facilitate adjustment to expected climate and
its effects.
[SOURCE: ISO 14090:2019, 3.1, modified — term revised.]
climate change mitigation
human intervention to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or enhance greenhouse gas removals
[SOURCE: ISO 14050:2020, 3.8.6]
surroundings in which an organization operates, including air, water, land, natural resources, flora,
fauna, humans and their interrelationships
Note 1 to entry: Surroundings can extend from within an organization to the local, regional and global system.
Note 2 to entry: Surroundings can be described in terms of biodiversity, ecosystems, climate or other
[SOURCE: ISO 14001:2015, 3.2.1]
environmental impact
change to the environment (3.2.3), whether adverse or beneficial, wholly or partially resulting from an
organization's environmental aspects
  © ISO 2022 – All rights reserved


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