Member Observatories of the INSTO Network


Since its establishment in 2004, the UNWTO Observatory Network encompasses a total of 18 Members. The first observatories were established in China and Greece. In regions where more than five observatories are established, an appointed observatory functions as Regional Coordinator (RC). In the case of China, a Monitoring Centre based in the Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou represents all observatories. After the Greek Observatory became the first one in Europe and further Chinese observatories extended China's monitoring efforts, the Tourism Observatory of Guanajuato State, created in 2008, became a member of INSTO in August 2015, and the Tourism and Events Observatory of the City of São Paulo, became a member in May 2016. Furthermore, Indonesia  established three Observatories in September 2016 and the Croatian Sustainable Tourism Observatory became member in October 2016. Moreover, two US observatories joined the network in the end of 2016 and beginning of 2017, (the Blue Community Observatory in Florida and the Sonoma County Sustainable Tourism Observatory in California). INSTO's latest addition is the Waikato Tourism Monitoring Observatory in New Zealand. 


The Observatories


There are currently a total of eight observatories operating in China. They are all managed by a Monitoring Centre based in Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou. 

Yangshuo (2006)
Yangshuo is a county in the northeastern region of Guangxi, perhaps most famous for its surrounding karst peaks. In 2006, the observatory in Yangshuo was the first to be established, due to the fast rise in tourism in the region, and the growing importance of the sector to the area. Its focus is community participation and tourism impacts.
Huangshan, Xidi and Hongcun (2011)
A UNESCO World Heritage site and one of China’s major tourist destinations, Huangshan is a mountain range in the southern province of Anhui, famous for its unique granite peak scenery. Two ancient villages included in the monitoring area are Xidi and Hongcun, which are located in Yi county, Huangshan City, also in the southern province of Anhui, which  were also listed into the directory of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. These two villages are vivid illustrations of a type of human settlement created during a feudal period and based on a prosperous trading economy. The observatory monitoring these sites focuses especially on environmental and cultural heritage protection.
Zhangjiajie (2011)
In 2011, the third observatory in China was established at the entrance of the National Park of Zhangjiajie in the Hunan province. The park is the first national forest park in China, receiving up to 40 000 visitors a day during high season. Tourism is the main sector in the area, and the focus of the Zhangjiajie Observatory is tourism for regional development.
Chengdu (2012)
Chengdu, the fourth most populated city in mainland China, is the capital of the Sichuan province and an important economic hub in western China. The city is one of China’s most visited destinations, and the Chengdu Observatory is therefore naturally focused on tourism and urbanization, along with post-disaster reconstruction.
Kanas (2012)
Bordering Kazakhstan, Russia and Mongolia, Kanas is a lake nature reserve in north-west China, and the major tourism attraction in that part of the country. The observatory in Kanas, focused on tourism in remote and border areas, was established in 2012.
Henan (2014)
Henan is a province situated in the central-eastern part of China on the middle and lower reaches of the Yellow River. It is one of the main birthplaces of Chinese Nation and Chinese Civilization, where cultural sites and natural landscapes coexist harmoniously. Tourism has become a pillar sector of Henan’s economy. The observatory focuses mainly on two areas within the province, namely Luoyang and Jiaozuo. Its monitoring efforts include research regarding the socio-economic and environmental aspects of tourism development as well as the protection of historical relic and the tourism development around these sites.
Xishuangbanna (2015)
Xishuangbanna is an eco-tourism area rich in natural, historical and cultural resources which include folklore, tropical rain forests, rare plants and wildlife. An additional feature of Xishuangbanna is the composition of its population, with 13 ethnic groups besides the Han living in this region. The focus of the observatory will be on monitoring sustainability and indigenous groups, ensuring that tourism generates socio-economic benefit for the various communities.
Changshu (2015)
Located in the southeast of Jiangsu Province, the city covers an area of 1276 square kilometers (including the Yangtze River water area). In Chinese county-level city, it is the first city owning the title of “National Garden City” and “International Garden City”. For the past 5 years, income from the tourism sector has increased by more than 20% averagely and yearly, meanwhile, the number of visitor has risen by more than 10% yearly. The observatory focuses on two major themes: 'the development of the tourism industry in developed areas and enhancement of residents' quality of life and overall happiness' as well as 'the development and ecological conservation of the tourism industry in developed areas'. 

Learn more about the Chinese Monitoring Centre for UNWTO Sustainable Tourism Observatories (MCSTO):


Aegean Islands (2013)
Established by the University of the Aegean in collaboration with UNWTO and with the support of the Ministry of Tourism of Greece, the first Sustainable Tourism Observatory in Europe opened in the Aegan Islands, the main archipelago of Greece, in early 2013. The observatory has two physical sites, one in Rhodes for the South Aegean and another in Chios for the North Aegean, monitoring the environmental, social and economic impacts of tourism in the Aegean archipelago. It will serve as a model to expand the concept to a national level. Along with the two observatory sites, a Monitoring Center was established at the University of Aegean in Mytilene, on the island of Lesvos. As with the monitoring center in Guangzhou, China, the role of the Center is to monitor and implement sustainable tourism practices in close cooperation with the tourism public and private sector in the area of the Aegean.
Learn more about the Tourism Observatory of the University of the Aegean:


Guanajuato (2015)
The Tourism Observatory of Guanajuato State, created in 2008, is an organization dedicated permanently to research, analyze, evaluate and consult about the performance of the tourism sector, through an inter-sectoral and multidisciplinary work that allows for measuring and monitoring tourism in various relevant aspects. It monitors issues of governance, demand, tourism services offer, infrastructure, local community benefits, tourist attractions and sustainability. The Tourism Observatory of Guanajuato, Mexico, became a member of the International Network of Sustainable Tourism Observatories (INSTO) in August 2015.

            Learn more about the Tourism Observatory of Guanajuato:   


São Paulo (2016)
The Tourism and Events Observatory - City of São Paulo (OTE) is a pioneer in data collection and analysis for the tourism of the city of São Paulo. Core of research and market intelligence of São Paulo Turismo, OTE was created in 2008 with the goal of analyzing the tourism behavior and the events segment in São Paulo. The Tourism and Events Observatory - City of São Paulo became a member of the International Network of Sustainable Tourism Observatories (INSTO) in May 2016.

Learn more about the Tourism and Events Observatory - City of São Paulo (OTE):


Pangandaran (2016)
Hosted by the Bandung Institute of Technology, the observatory is to monitor the tourism destination of Batukaras Village of the Cijulang District of the Pangandaran Regency.  The Bandung Institute of Technology became member of the International Network of Sustainable Tourism Observatories (INSTO) in September 2016.

                         Learn more about the Bandung Institute of Technology:                

Sesaot and Senggigi Lombok Barat (2016)
Hosted by the Faculty of Economics of Mataram University, the observatory is to monitor Sesaot, one of nature-based tourist destinations, as well as Senggigi, a village located on the north western part of Lombok, both belonging to the West Lombok Regency. The Faculty of Economics of Mataram University became member of the International Network of Sustainable Tourism Observatories (INSTO in September 2016.

                                                       Learn more about the Mataram University:                                            

Sleman (2016)
Hosted by the Magister and Doctor Tourism Program of the Graduate School of Gadjah Mada University, the University has a duty and responsibility in the field of research and increased understanding of sustainable tourism development. The initial regional scope of the observatory will focus on the tourism village of Pulesari in Wonokerto, Turi district of Sleman. The Magister and Doctor Tourism Program of the Graduate School of Gadjah Mada University became member of the International Network of Sustainable Tourism Observatories (INSTO) in September 2016.

                         Learn more about the Gadjah Mada Universy:                


Adriatic Croatia (2016) 
The Croatian Sustainable Tourism Observatory (CROSTO), hosted by the Institute for Tourism in Zagreb, is responsible for monitoring sustainable tourism in the Adriatic Croatia. CROSTO advises local communities on minimizing possible negative impacts of tourism development and defines the necessary steps in destination management that lead to sustainability in tourism. CROSTO became member of the International Network of Sustainable Tourism Observatories (INSTO) in October 2016.

Learn more about the Croatian Sustainable Tourism Observatory:

United States of America

Pinella and Manatee Counties, Florida (2016) 
The Blue Community Observatory, hosted by the USF Patel College of Global Sustainability (PCGs) monitors the impact of tourism in parts of the Pinella and Manatee Counties, two popular tourist destinations in Florida, USA. The work of the Blue Community Observatory focuses on  areas such as local satisfaction with tourism in the destination; seasonality patterns; energy, waste and water control; food production, clean marinas, education, and policies related to the science of planetary boundaries, among others.  The University of South Florida's Patel College of Global Sustainability became member of the International Network of Sustainable Tourism Observatories (INSTO) in December 2016.

Learn more about USF Patel College of Global Sustainability Blue Community:  and

Sonoma County, California (2017)
The monitoring area of the Sonoma County Sustainable Tourism Observatory is strategically located 45 minutes North of the Golden Gate Bridge and the metropolitan areas of San Francisco and Silicon Valley. Due to the regions premier position as a wine destination, its proximity to major innovation hubs and its abundant variety of culinary and scenic attractions, the area attracts millions of visitors every year. The observatory is the first of its kind under the umbrella of the Coalition to Observe and Advance Sustainable Tourism (COAST), aiming to serve as an anchor for a possible network of Pacific Coast observatories, connecting key tourism destinations along the Pacific Coast of North America, stretching from San Francisco and the Channel Islands in the south to Vancouver and Victoria BC in the north. The observatory aims to share best practices which have been developed in the destination and learn from other member destinations of the INSTO network to advance its work, especially in the areas of water management, the impacts of agricultural-tourism growth, climate change responsiveness,, the viable regeneration of essential public places, employment and local living opportunities, among others.

Learn more about the Sonoma County Sustainable Tourism Observatory:

New Zealand

Raglan and Waitomo, Waikato Region (2017) 
The Waikato Tourism Monitoring Observatory is the first observatory to open in New Zealand and is hosted by the Waikato Management School of the University of Waikato. The Waikato Observatory seeks to support the strengthening of the world famous surfing town Raglan as a sustainable destination, while continuing to protect the unique landscapes and the biodiversity of Waitomo and its iconic tourist attraction the Waitomo Caves. It focuses its monitoring efforts especially on crucial socio-cultural aspects such as ‘local and visitor satisfaction’, ‘destination economic benefits’, ‘tourism seasonality’ and ‘development control’. Over time, efforts will be extended, covering additional thematic areas related to waste management, housing issues, water supply and sewage management, among others.

Learn more about the Waikato Tourism Monitoring Observatory 


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