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Desertification Indicator System for Mediterranean Europe

1. Definition



Brief definition

Number of tourist eco-labels certificated in the area as a percentage of the total.

Unit of measure


2. Position within the logical framework DPSIR

Type of Indicator


3. Target and political pertinence


The indicator shows whether the approach to tourism is ecologically sensitive.

Importance with respect to desertification

The use of eco-labels has some potential as an indicator for tourism and the environment and may help to reduce the land degradation impacts of the tourism industry. Eco-labels can play a direct role in linking socio-economic concerns with environmental protection. For example encouraging the use of more regional products benefits the local economy and reduces the need for transport for imported commodities. Eco-labels can also help to raise awareness of environmental protection among the regional and local population as well as highlighting the importance of tourism for the environment in general.

International Conventions and agreements

The aim of the Blue Flag Programme, based on the EEC Bathing Water Directive of 1976, is to concentrate tourism at specific areas that both meet certain water quality standards and provide facilities such as services and information, rather than at rural beaches without such facilities. It does not aim to judge the cleanliness of beaches in general.

The UNEP Mediterranean Action Plan has set up an expert group on tourist eco-labels within the framework of the Mediterranean Commission on Sustainable Development. http://www.unepmap.org/.

Secondary objectives of the indicator

Another use of the eco-label indicator would be to provide information to institutions on efforts required in the future to extend and improve this quality.

4. Methodological description and basic definitions

Definitions and basic concepts

The Current Eco-labels for Accommodation in Europe. "Current" means enterprises holding awards that are still allowed to use the logo. "Eco-label" means that:

a. environmental aspects are dominant; using a set of environmental criteria covering different aspects (waste, energy, etc.);

b. there is a clear target group (accommodation: hotels, guest houses, camping sites, holiday apartments, inns, restaurants, marine and beaches, tour operators, national parks, tourism destinations etc.) located in a given area (region xy): every applicant fulfilling the criteria gets the right to use the logo.

Benchmarks Indication of the values/ranges of value

I° range: < Local Mean -St. Dev.
II° range: >Local Mean - St. Dev. < Local Mean
III° range: > Local Mean < Local Mean + St. Dev.
IV° range: > Local Mean + St. Dev

Methods of measurement

The indicator considers the numbers of Eco-labels for accommodation and the number of Blue Flags for beaches, divided by the total accommodation and lengths of beaches.

The target groups for eco-labels include hotels, hostels, camping sites, private rooms, restaurants, biological self-catering cottages, motorway service stations, and holiday parks.

Limits of the indicator

The indicator does not take into account the effects of adopting eco-labels or the parts of the tourism industry that are environmental friendly but for some reason do not hold official labels.

Linkages with other indicators

The indicator is linked with tourism indicators such as Tourism intensity, tourism contribution to GDP.

5. Evaluation of data needs and availability

Data required to calculate the indicator

Numbers of eco-labels, numbers of Blue Flags.

Data sources

Ecotrans: Annual data, numbers of eco-labels
Blue Flag: Annual data, numbers of Blue Flags
All eco-labels on: WWW.ECOTIP.ORG

Availability of data from national and international sources

The data are available at regional and national level from officially national and European sources.

6. Institutions that have participated in developing the indicator

Main institutions responsible

The lead agency for this indicator is the European Environment Agency

Other contributing organizations

Universities of Basilicata, Lisbon, Murcia, Athens.

7. Additional information



Other references


Contacts Name and address

University of Basilicata
Prof Giovanni Quaranta
email: quaranta@unibas.it