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IDB releases sustainability scorecard for private sector tourism projects

The Inter-American Development Bank today released a new Tourism Sustainability Scorecard, an interactive tool developed to ensure that the IDB’s investments in private sector tourism projects maximize social, economic, cultural and environmental benefits for local communities and destinations.

Tourism is an important source of employment and revenue in Latin America and the Caribbean, and a widely acknowledged contributor to sustainable development and poverty alleviation. The World Travel and Tourism Council estimates that tourism will contribute as much as $217 billion to the region’s economies in 2009.

The Scorecard will allow the Bank to assess the sustainability of private sector projects that request IDB financing and give priority to requests that demonstrate potentially positive impacts. Also, the scorecard is expected to be a guide for developers to formulate more sustainable projects and encourage them to think about sustainability issues from the outset. Although the Scorecard has been specifically designed for the private sector, it can also be a valuable tool for government entities, NGOs, scholars, and other tourism stakeholders to assess private sector initiatives.

The Scorecard was developed on the basis of the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria. It includes 52 criteria and their corresponding indicators grouped into five sections: effective sustainable management practices; socioeconomic issues; cultural heritage issues; environmental issues; impacts on the tourism destination; and real estate activities associated with the tourism project.

The Scorecard is designed to be used at multiple stages of a project’s lifecycle: during project development, screening, or initial analysis, and then again throughout due diligence and investment approvals. Use of the Scorecard at multiple stages will help decision makers identify areas that need improvement and later on allow them to measure the impact of the changes they have introduced.

The Scorecard does not provide a score for a particular project, but rather generates a “color map” of performance indicators showing how sustainable the project is likely to be. A color code, ranging from green to red, is used to designate performance indicators from excellent to unacceptable.

The IDB is inviting comments and suggestions regarding the Scorecard, which is available at www.iadb.org/tourismscorecard/, during a six month public consultation period that will end in November 2009.

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