Tourism can serve as a driver of rural development and well-being.
Photo: © fokke baarssen/

Digital self-assessment tool for rural destinations presented

UN Tourism has unveiled a pioneering digital self-assessment tool designed to progress tourism development in rural areas which is available for all rural destinations in UN Tourism Member States.

The UN Tourism Self-assessment Tool to Assist Rural Destinations (STAR), launched in May 2024, allows local public authorities in rural destinations to self-evaluate and measure their level of tourism development. It also provides tailored recommendations, benchmarking different destinations and generating valuable data and insights for Member States to enhance sustainable and inclusive tourism policies. 

Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary-General of UN Tourism, says: "The UN Tourism Self-assessment Tool is a game-changer for rural destinations. It empowers local authorities with a tool that allows them to self-evaluate their policies and actions, providing actionable insights fostering sustainable tourism development, and contributing to the overall growth of rural communities."

STAR available to all rural destinations  

All rural destinations in UN Tourism Member States can access the tool. It is open to local authorities interested in measuring their tourism development and getting a tailored recommendation guide to implement a sustainable, inclusive and smart tourism model for their destinations. The key features of STAR include: 

Self-assessment: Rural destinations can self-evaluate their policies and initiatives through a set of indicators covering five areas – Tourism Governance, Economic, Social and Cultural Sustainability, Environmental Sustainability, Tourism Development and Infrastructure. 

Tailored recommendations: The tool delivers a customised recommendations guide to users with recommendations aligned with UN Tourism standards, considering the unique features of rural destinations. 

Benchmarking excellence: Supporting local authorities in benchmarking policies and practices, the tool facilitates the evaluation of destinations across various components. 

Data and insights: Providing a wealth of data for Member States, the digital tool enables in-depth analytics on destinations taking the assessment. It sheds light on the strengths and weaknesses of local governments in tourism policies, strategies and interventions, laying the groundwork for enhancements by local, regional and national authorities in rural areas.

STAR is part of the work of Tourism for Rural Development by UN Tourism. The Programme envisions tourism as a driver of rural development and well-being, valuing and safeguarding rural villages, landscapes, knowledge systems and cultural diversity. It aligns with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by promoting innovative and transformative approaches to tourism development in rural destinations.


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