Statistics Capacity Building Programmes

The Statistics Capacity Building Programme (SCBP) is a key element of UNWTO’s programme for the implementation of the UN ratified International Recommendations on Tourism Statistics 2008 (IRTS 2008) and Tourism Satellite Account: Recommended Methodological Framework 2008 (TSA:RMF 2008). It comprises a regional Statistics Capacity Building Programme and a national Statistics Capacity Building Programme, both complementary and each with an approach deemed most effective and appropriate for its scope.

The regional SCBP consists of a series of three or four Workshops held at intervals of approximately six months in various regions of the world. For each regional Programme, jointly organized by the relevant UNWTO Regional Department together with the Statistics Department, around twelve UNWTO member countries in each of the regions are invited to participate in the series of Workshops. The Workshops are hosted by a country in each region which is considered to be the most advanced or most determined in terms of the development of tourism statistics. Each Workshop takes two, three or four days and is organized in a structured manner with harmonized support material to guide countries in better understanding the current status of their national Systems of Tourism Statistics (STS) so as to be able to design the way forward for the development a relevant and accurate TSA.

This regional Programme, launched in 2008, was innovative in the sense of creating collaboration and cooperation between the countries’ main institutions involved with tourism statistics. Participating countries are invited to send three delegates, i.e. one person from each of the National Tourism Administration, the National Statistics Office and the Central Bank. Together with the final Workshop in each region, a two-day Regional Seminar is held. This is open to all UNWTO member countries in the region. The main purpose of the Seminar is to spread the experience and knowledge gained by the Workshop participants during the SCBP to other countries in the region.

The national SCBP is born from the regional SCBP activities, whereby UNWTO acknowledged the need to develop a capacity building offering training and technical assistance (through field presence of UNWTO Experts as well as “remote” technical assistance initiatives) tailored to the needs of specific Member States. Its design involved close collaboration between the UNWTO Statistics Department and the Technical Cooperation and Silk Road Department, with the collaboration of UNWTO’s Regional Departments. It was launched in 2010 and included in UNWTO’s Product Portfolio.

This approach stems from the notion that it is possible for countries to take gradual steps towards Tourism Satellite Account (TSA) implementation by first progressively improving their statistical foundation whilst obtaining useful information for immediate use towards policy design even without a comprehensive national System of Tourism Statistics. With this objective in mind, the national SCBP provides support and expertise to Member States that wish to improve their national System of Tourism Statistics with the perspective of ultimately developing a TSA. The approach follows an incremental logic towards TSA development, whereby UNWTO provides technical expertise and capacity building according to three possible scenarios depending on the country’s level of STS development:

  • Case 1. Design and Enhancement of the national System of Tourism Statistics
  • Case 2: Development of an Experimental TSA and/or aligning of the statistical processes with the UN recommended frameworks and technical implementation.
  • Case 3: Validation of a TSA

For more information about the national SCBP, please visit UNWTO’s Technical Cooperation and Services Programme.

Earlier Initiatives

Before the launch of the Statistics Capacity Building Programmes in 2008, UNWTO worked on building countries’ capacity in tourism statistics through workshops, so that countries’ own national technical personnel could carry out two sets of initiatives:

  • On one hand, promoting the development of the System of Tourism Statistics as a necessary condition in order to progress in the measurement and analysis of the economic impacts of tourism;
  • On the other hand, initiating the tasks contemplated in the different stages recommended by UNWTO for the development of a TSA.

The Workshops were geared towards statistics professionals and managerial staff with responsibilities in the field of tourism statistics, who work in different types of institutions such as: National Tourism Administrations; entities in charge of border statistics (arrivals and departures of international travellers) such as Migration/Interior Departments; National Statistical Offices (both basic statistics production units and National Accounts units); Balance of Payments departments of Central Banks; and Business Associations of Tourism Activities.

The following workshops were held:

Complementary Information: a National Strategy for Development of Statistics (provided by PARIS21)