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UNECLAC-UNWTO Collaboration: Macroeconomic Indicators Related to International Tourism

Since its 2011 Edition, the Compendium of Tourism Statistics incorporates section 6 on Complementary Indicators, the core of which being a set of Macroeconomic Indicators Related to International Tourism:
 

1. Inbound tourism expenditure over GDP
2. Outbound tourism expenditure over GDP
3. Tourism balance (inbound minus outbound tourism expenditure) over GDP
4. Tourism openness (inbound plus outbound tourism expenditure) over GDP
5. Tourism coverage  (inbound over outbound tourism expenditure)
6. Inbound tourism expenditure over exports of goods
7. Inbound tourism expenditure over exports of services
8. Inbound tourism expenditure over exports of goods and services
9. Inbound tourism expenditure over current account credits
10. Outbound tourism expenditure over imports of goods
11. Outbound tourism expenditure over imports of services
12. Outbound tourism expenditure over imports of goods and services
13. Outbound tourism expenditure over current account debits


The compilation of the indicators emerges from a collaboration between the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and UNWTO. The indicators are calculated by UN ECLAC from the International Monetary Fund’s Balance of Payments Statistics and International Financial Statistics. The resulting set of data encompasses an unbalanced panel of 14 indicators in yearly intervals since 1980 for a good number of countries around the world (approximately 130). The same variables are available on a quarterly basis since 2000 for about 60 countries. Both sets are updated biannually.

These and other complementary indicators represent a preliminary and very basic evaluation of tourism’s economic contribution to the national economy, very valuable because they are largely available for most countries, internationally comparable, and comparable to other economic indicators.

It should be noted that the UNWTO/ECLAC dataset considers only inbound and outbound tourism, not domestic tourism. This is because the Balance of Payments, an accounting record of all monetary transactions between a country and the rest of the world, does not consider the (monetary) activities of residents (in this case, resident visitors) within the country of reference. Evidence from other sources (such as Tourism Satellite Accounts) shows that domestic tourism amounts to an important portion, of total internal tourism in many countries—sometimes many times larger than inbound tourism.

It must be noted that the term ‘expenditure’ is used similarly for inbound as well as for outbound tourism to indicate “the amount paid for the acquisition of consumption goods and services, as well as valuables, for own use or to give away, for and during tourism trips”. Foreign visitors in the reference country generate inbound tourism expenditure (credits in the Balance of Payments), while resident visitors in foreign countries generate outbound tourism expenditure (debits in the Balance of Payments).

For more information on these indicators, see Methodological Notes to the Tourism Statistics Database.

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