This activity assesses environmental pressures in the tourism sector, by extracting key information from EO data to quantify two major elements: the pressure on water resources and the pressure due to population. The information will be integrated with tourism sector indicators and made easily accessible to various stakeholders.
Two case studies are defined: the Mediterranean region on the regional scale and Malta on the focussed scale. These regions are highly representative of tourism impact issues issues such as the hydrological balance and water stress, conservation of areas with high ecological/agricultural potential, and anthropogenic pressure. Based on the requirements, a thorough investigation and benchmarking of existing global EO and non-EO data was carried out, with special focus on tourism statistics and urban sprawl. High-priority such datasets have been post-processed and aggregated in a dashboard-style web mapping interface. For the regional scale, a set of thematic indicators was created to diagnose the state of the environment regarding tourism challenges. These were then normalised and combined into a synthetic index called “ecotourism score”. The indicators (partly based on EO) relate to overall water risk, protection of the ecosystems, urbanisation level, air quality and hotel density. For the local (Maltese) scale, additional indicators are made available on imperviousness, green infrastructure and drought anomalies.
The project also formulates a unique indicator, TSDI (Tourism Sustainable Development Indicator) that aggregates the ensemble of data extracted from EO and non-EO sources. The goal for TSDI is to increase the readability of the project output to non-expert users and ultimately become the standard to measure the “compatibility of tourism and environment” at any given location. The indicator is inspired by the World Bank’s Human Development Index (HDI) and the Sustainable Development economic indicator (University of London). For the further validation of TSDI, the team is in touch with expert economists from the Toulouse School of Economics. The project website tourism-SDI.org is now online showing a first version of TSDI, which is based on the urbanisation and water stress datasets.