Issue Paper Series

Launched by the UNWTO Statistics Department in October 2013, the STSA Issue Papers Series aims to showcase the relevance of measuring and analyzing tourism, to disseminate the proper tools for doing so (including good practice examples), and to serve as platform that encourages the exploration of further developments in the field.

  • Governance for the Tourism Sector and its Measurement
    Out of the conviction that governance doesn’t simply exist–it is made, this paper first describes what governance means conceptually in the tourism sector before proposing a basic approach for measuring and thus monitoring governance in the tourism sector.
  • Regional Tourism Satellite Account
    Many approaches have been taken in recent decades to apply the Tourism Satellite Account (TSA), the prime tool for measuring the contribution of tourism in the national economy, to regions or subnational entities. The concepts, methods and results in each case have been distinctly heterogeneous. This paper proposes an outline for a regional TSA as the point of departure for the development of comprehensive systems for measuring the economic dimension of tourism at the subnational  level in a way that yields homogenous, and thus internationally comparable, findings.
  • The Economic Impact of Tourism, Overview and Examples of Macroeconomic Analysis
    Macroeconomic analysis tools like Input-Output Models, Social Accounting Matrices, and Computable General Equilibrium models can be used to extend the understanding of tourism’s role in the economy beyond the TSA’s direct effects and also consider indirect and induced effects. This paper discusses the advantages and disadvantages of each of these tools, and provides recommendations on when to use each as the optimum technique in tourism economic analysis.
  • The Use of Statistics to Evaluate Tourism Policy
    This paper describes international experience in using statistical information in the evaluation of national tourism programmes. It reviews current literature, contributions from evaluators from around the world and the author’s work in this field. The paper shows how tourism statistics are being used to support and strengthen evaluation. It also discusses the mechanisms through which evaluation can help to strengthen the statistical system. Specific opportunities for further strengthening evaluation links with statistics are considered, and some promising new directions highlighted.

  • Computable General Equilibrium Modelling for Tourism Policy: Inputs and Outputs
    In recent years economic impact analysis in tourism has undergone a profound change in approach. In contrast to earlier emphasis on destination input-output models to provide multiplier values to determine the effects (positive and negative) of tourism demand shocks on economic variables such as gross domestic product, value added and employment, computable general equilibrium (CGE) models, are being used worldwide to estimate the resulting net macroeconomic and industry effects and for tourism policy analysis. This report identifies several features of the economy that determine the size of the economic impacts from any given shock to tourism demand that make CGE model a particularly suitable technique for economic impact analysis. It outlines the structure of a typical CGE model, identifies common features of models in use internationally, and addresses some aspects of operationalising these models. The report also discusses applications of CGE modelling to tourism, identifying several areas where tourism analysis and policy have been suitably informed as a result of such modelling. Particular insights that CGE modelling can bring to tourism planning, forecasting and policy analysis are identified. Concerns that have been raised about CGE modelling are discussed. The report concludes with a discussion of the skills requirements for CGE modelling and training courses offered globally and online by both private and public education providers. In a context of ongoing theoretical and practical development, CGE tourism modelling provides a versatile and effective means of examining the wide range of scenarios that can occur in both developed and developing destinations.

  • Tourism Statistics and TSA Compilation Methods in Asian Countries
    The importance of the comprehensive and reliable tourism statistics is increasing in Asian countries which have experienced continuous growth of tourism. The main objective of the paper is to clarify how the TSA is compiled in different Asian countries. In this research, a questionnaire survey was conducted in order to clarify the development status of TSA, tourism statistics, SNA and Input-Output tables, targeting 11 Asian countries. This paper shows the results of the survey. Additionally, it also compiled trial tables of Inbound TSA and to estimate the Inbound Tourism GDP for Japan.

  • International Tourism Statistics – UNWTO Benchmark and Cross-country Comparison of Definitions and Sampling Issues
    International visitor surveys are periodic surveys that aim to collect statistical data on international tourism. International guidelines are set and promoted by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), and the data provide essential inputs for the compilation of national accounts as well as constant information about tourism segments. The information produced by international visitor surveys is compiled for different markets of interest and published in the form of online reports and tables by international visitor survey management institutions. This study aims to investigate international visitor survey practices in terms of definitions used in the compilation of international tourism statistics and technical aspects underlying the data collection. The analysis focuses on the data obtained from five major countries, namely, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States, and the UNWTO guidelines are used as benchmark. Several gaps are identified and relevant implications are discussed in the study

Previous papers

Since the ratification of the IRTS 2008 and the TSA: RMF 2008, UNWTO’s Statistics Department has generated a number of papers to disseminate a better understanding of the tourism sector and its economic implications:

  • Positioning Tourism in Economic Policy: Evidence and Some Proposals
    The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has put in place a powerful conceptual framework for gathering statistics and indicators relevant not only for the tourism sector but also for the broader economic context that tourism is embedded in. This paper provides an overview of available official data, such as that from Tourism Satellite Accounts (TSA), to better understand the importance of tourism as an economic sector.
  • Project on Governance for the Tourism Sector - Executive Report (only available in Spanish)
    The content of the present document is meant to report the results obtained in the first phase of a research project launched by the UNWTO on “Governance for the Tourism Sector”, with the aim of establishing a framework for analysis and proposal-generation to support decision-making processes in the construction of governance in the tourism sector.
  • Case Study of the Sultanate of Oman, 2003-2007: Employing the Macroeconomic Indicators in Analysis and TSA Development
    The case study illustrates the two complementary ways in which the UNWTO macroeconomic indicators can be employed to provide valuable information. The first is in making an analytical overview of the importance of tourism in an economy, and the second is in enhancing the developments towards an experimental Tourism Satellite Account.
  • Coherence and consistency in tourism statistics: an overview
    This paper provides guidance on two different but related issues not specifically addressed in IRTS 2008: checking consistency in data used for tourism statistics (principally those coming from surveys and administrative procedures) and reconciling data derived from different sources.
    Besides, it stresses the importance of coherence and consistency in tourism statistics, necessary conditions for a proper System of Tourism Statistics. It illustrates methods to satisfy these conditions – in compiling a Tourism Satellite Account as well as in other contexts – as the culminating step in such processes and a means to ensure stronger consistency with the National Statistical System.

Enzo Paci Papers

During the period 2001-2006 the UNWTO Statistics Department published the series “Enzo Paci Papers on Measuring the Economic Significance of Tourism”.

This series was designed to serve as a platform for familiarizing statisticians and economic analysts interested in tourism with UNWTO’s Tourism Satellite Account (TSA) Project. In particular, guidelines drawn up by the UNWTO for the development of national Systems of Tourism Statistics (STSs) and of the TSA and activities carried out by the various Working Groups of UNWTO’s Committee on Statistics during the year. It includes in addition some especially noteworthy articles published mostly outside mainstream journals.

The five volumes are available in our E-library (volume 1, volume 2, volume 3, volume 4 and volume 5).

In 2009 a special volume of this series was published (volume 6), with the documents presented to the “International Conference on Measuring Tourism Economic Contribution at Sub-National Levels, Málaga, Spain, 29 - 31 October 2008” and is available on the Conference website.