Evaluating Sustainable Tourism: A Composite Index for European Destinations


  • Samuele Cesarini Department of Business Communication, University of Teramo, Campus Aurelio Saliceti, Via Renato Balzarini, 1 - Teramo, Italy, scesarini@unite.it https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7062-1580
  • Ivan Terraglia Department of Business Communication, University of Teramo, Campus Aurelio Saliceti, Via Renato Balzarini, 1 - Teramo, Italy


sustainable tourism indicators, European Union, destination competitiveness, Mazziotta-Pareto Index


This paper focuses on the analysis of sustainable tourism indicators for the 27 European Union (EU) countries to address the challenges faced by the tourism sector. The impact of sustainable tourism indicators on destination competitiveness was evaluated using the EU Tourism Dashboard, a scheme funded by the European Commission. The Mazziotta-Pareto Index was used to construct the indicator of sustainability by incorporating the three pillars of indicators: Environmental impact, Digitalisation, and Socio-economic vulnerability. The proposed approach provides greater tractability and flexibility for decision-makers to adjust the number of indicators to meet specific case conditions. The sustainable tourism indicators aim to provide critical information for resource allocation and policymaking in the conservation of tourism sites, as well as improving the welfare and inclusiveness of local communities. The findings of the analysis highlight significant disparities among destinations in terms of the examined indicators, emphasizing variations in sustainability profiles and performance within the tourism sector. These disparities underscore the need for personalized and targeted approaches to address the specific challenges and opportunities faced by each destination in achieving sustainable tourism development. Furthermore, the proposed ranking system, updated at regular intervals, can enhance the image and reputation of European areas as high-quality and sustainable destinations, attracting increased tourism demand. Additionally, the ranking system can foster knowledge sharing and the adoption of benchmarking practices, incentivizing countries to maintain and improve their position in the ranking. This work contributes to addressing the evidence gap in tourism sustainability policymaking and provides a comprehensive framework for the development of sustainable tourism analysis in the EU context. 



2023-09-15 — Updated on 2023-12-24