Current methodological framework

In 2008 the international statistical community agreed on a 2-piece set of recommended methodological frameworks for measuring tourism in a standard way.


This twofold conceptual framework enables tourism statistics and indicators compiled in countries all over the world to be comparable with each other, over time and to other (economic) data. The so-called Systems of Tourism Statistics that are being generated in countries as a result are enabling a deeper understanding of tourism’s multiple facets, empowering them to monitor progress, evaluate impacts, focus management on results, and uncover strategic issues to better address policy objectives.

  • System of Tourism Statistics  is embedded in the National Statistical System, providing of reliable, consistent and appropriate statistical information on the socio-economic aspects related to tourism, integrated within the economic and social statistics related to other fields and at different territorial levels.

The System of Tourism Statistics, rooted in the IRTS 2008 and TSA:RMF 2008, shapes UNWTO’s systematic compilation of tourism statistics from countries and territories around the world into the most comprehensive, internationally comparable database on the tourism sector. Each year, this database gives way to two key statistical publications: the Compendium of Tourism Statistics and the Yearbook of Tourism Statistics.

Advancing the methodological framework

UNWTO works continuously on advancing the measurement of the different aspects of tourism.
At the moment, the focus is on:

  • Employment and Decent Work in Tourism:
    – ILO-UNWTO Joint Project –
  • A Closer Look at Tourism: Sub-national Measurement and Analysis
    – INRouTe-UNWTO Collaboration –
  • Governance in tourism sector
    – UNWTO Project –
  • Papers

Read more....

Timeline of historical developments in the methodological framework

Over the years, UNWTO’s Statistics Department has coordinated important developments relating to the conceptualization of tourism and its measurement, progressively building consensus amongst the international statistical community. Read more....