TSA for Central America Project (2007-2010)

The Tourism Satellite Account for Central America Project 2007-2010 was designed by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) at the request of the Ministers of Tourism of the countries of the region (Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama), and was financially supported by the Iberoamerican General Secretariat (SEGIB) and Mexico. The latter agreed for the implementation of the project during its first year to be co-financed using the “Mexican International Cooperation Fund for Tourism Development with Iberoamerica”, a voluntary contribution to participate in joint programmes with SEGIB. Furthermore, the suitability of Mexico’s experience (that of its Secretariat of Tourism and projects carried out jointly with the National Institute of Statistics, Geography and Informatics, INEGI) was considered important for conducting this project.

The project consisted of implementing a capacity-building and technical assistance plan for the development and enhancement of tourism statistics and the establishment of the Tourism Satellite Account (TSA) in the previously mentioned countries.

Such a vision was also endorsed by the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation for Development (AECID), as well as by the Central American Integration System (SICA), which considered the project to be of special interest for these countries.

During the execution of the project the following outputs and activities were carried out:

  1. Diagnostic assessment of the situation of systems of tourism statistics in the countries of Central America and of the preliminary TSA exercises
  2. Proposal for the methodological harmonization and standardization of questionnaires used in tourism surveys on expenditure and tourism profile (cases of inbound, outbound and domestic tourism)
  3. Proposal for the methodological harmonization and statistical research on variables related to tourism supply (directories, surveys of establishments, classifiers, etc.)
  4. Analysis to support proposals for the improvement of the estimation of non-resident visitor flows (with and without overnights) and of residents travelling abroad
  5. Final revision of a set of indicators making it possible to characterize tourism activity in mesoeconomic terms (from the perspective of consumption, supply and employment in the tourism industries)
  6. Analysis of the Central American Tourism Situation 2007-2008 (english) (spanish)
  7. Final determination and summary of the components of the system of tourism statistics susceptible to harmonization (standard procedures for the application or improvement of surveys on international and national tourism flows, tourism expenditure (inbound, outbound and domestic); forms and technical procedures to be applied in surveys, as well as sample sizes; directories, statistics and surveys to be applied to tourism establishments; utilization of administrative records; etc.
  8. Coordination of new working groups (other cooperating entities) and planning of capacity-building and training activities, according to priorities and opportunities for external and inter-regional support
  9. Technical Support Missions to the following countries: Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua y Panama, related with tourism statistics and the TSA (methodology and experimental TSAs)[1]
  10. Report to the National Tourism Authorities of the Central American countries

Workshops held

  • 1st Central American Workshop on Basic Statistics and Tourism Satellite Account, Antigua (Guatemala), 27-29 November 2007.
  • 2nd Regional Workshop - The importance of methodological harmonization in relation with the development of national systems of tourism statistics, San Salvador (El Salvador), 26-­27 October 2009.

Technical assistance missions

SEGIB final reports


[1] It should be mentioned that the missions were carried out as planned, with the sole exception of Belize, a country that did not express interest in participating in the project.