Tourism & Recreation

Maintaining the Attraction of Coastal Destinations

Coastal and marine tourism is a vital part of a country’s economy. This goal measures the proportion of the total labor force engaged in the coastal tourism and travel sector, factoring in unemployment and sustainability. 

Global Goal Score


Likely Future State


Ocean Region Rankings

*The estimate of a goal’s likely near-term future status is a function
of four dimensions: Status, Trend, Pressure, and Resilience.

What Does This Score Mean?

The Tourism & Recreation goal aims to capture the experience people have visiting coastal and marine areas and attractions. Coastal tourism industries can be important to coastal economies, but this goal aims to assess participation in coastal tourism separately from the economic measures that are reported in the Coastal Livelihoods & Economies goal.

It is difficult to measure the actual number of people directly participating in tourism. As a result, the Index uses the amount of employment in the tourism sector as a proxy for the number of people actually taking part in coastal tourism, assuming that the number of hotel employees, travel agents and workers in related professions increases or decreases relative to the number of tourists.

The reference point for Tourism and Recreation measures the proportion of the total labor force engaged in this sector in each country, factoring in unemployment and sustainability. Regions were rank-ordered on the basis of that proportion and all regions above the 90th percentile—where tourism and recreation employment happened to make up 9.5% of the total labor force—were given a score of 100. This method is a change from that used in 2012 and is explained further in Methods.

Current Score

The current score would be an underestimate if data on employment in the travel and tourism sector do not capture all such workers. However, low scores for many regions where tourism is unsafe or unappealing owing to poverty, political turmoil, war or other volatile conditions depress the global score and will likely do so until those fundamental conditions improve.



Tourism and Recreation Are an Important Part of Coastal Communities
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How Is It Measured?

Each goal is evaluated on the basis of four dimensions
Present Status

Present Status is a goal's current value (based on the most recent available data) compared to a reference point.


Trend is the average percent change in the present status for the most recent 5 years of data.


Pressures are the sum of the ecological and social pressures that negatively affect scores for a goal.


Resilience is the sum of the ecological factors and social initiatives (policies, laws, etc) that can positively affect scores for a goal by reducing or eliminating pressures.


Pressures are human-caused stressors that influence both ecological and social systems, negatively affecting the ability of a goal to deliver its benefits to people.


Status refers to the current value of a goal relative to its goal-specific reference point. The reference point is the best condition for a goal that can reasonably be achieved; it is a target to aim for when taking actions to improve ocean health.


Resilience refers to the social, institutional, and ecological factors that positively affect the ability of a goal to deliver its benefits to people.


PHOTO(S): © Mike Theiss/National Geographic Stock
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