SusTPol (Sustainable Tourism evidence-informed Policy)

SuSTPol will analyse the use of sustainability indicators by tourist boards in a sample of European cities, assist them in adapting the indicators to their needs and transforming their governance systems, and exploit the competitive benefits accru

Start date

01 September 2021

End date

31 August 2023


EU tourism policies recognise the importance of sustainability for competitiveness of destinations, and SusTPol advances the understanding of using sustainability indicators to inform the governance of urban tourism.

This research contributes to implementing the Communication “Europe, the world's No 1 tourist destination – a new political framework for tourism in Europe” and the Europe 2020 Strategy, by experimenting with performance indicators on how tourism contributes to the EU policy on the Urban Environment, and empowering policymakers so tourism contributes to implementing policies for sustainable urban planning and management.

Currently, after the deep impact of the pandemic in the European cities, the need for recovering a more sustainable and resilient tourism has provided renewed impetus to progress sustainability performance indicators. 

Aims and objectives

The overall objective of SuSTPol is to investigate and evaluate which contextual factors allow tourist boards to reach varying levels of absorption of sustainability indicators into their organisational structures (potential capacity- knowledge acquisition and assimilation), and how these can best be used to inform policy (realised capacity- knowledge transformation and exploitation). The more specific research Objectives (O) are:

  • O1. To analyse the absorptive capacity (AC) of tourist boards: Critically evaluate the capacity of tourist boards for sustainable tourism data acquisition, assimilation, transformation and exploitation.
  • O2. To experiment in the development and use of sustainability indicators: Support and monitor experiments to use sustainability indicators in tourism planning, management, and marketing, in four cities.
  • O3. To evaluate, scale up and transfer evidence-informed sustainable tourism policy: Identify and address the contextual conditions that facilitate and impede the introduction of policy mechanisms to achieve sustainability outcomes.

Funding amount




Research Centre

We have a world-class reputation for our research in hospitality, tourism, transport and events.


Research themes

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