UNWTO Special Workshop on Tourism Statistics


20 November 2014 - 21 November 2014

Todaiji Temple Cultural Center

The UNWTO special workshop provided an intensive and practical experience on a number of selected and highly relevant issues in applied tourism statistics:

  • Measurement of tourism for policy purposes
  • Towards a Framework for Measuring the Sustainable Development of Tourism
  • Institutional and technical requirements for successful TSA implementation

The workshop presented hands-on practices by people who have extensive experience in the subjects. The goal of the workshop was to assist and encourage participants, by demonstrating actual practical methodologies, to investigate new methodologies after returning to their work-places. The workshop consisted of a series of presentations and talks which provided sufficient time for interaction between speakers and participants.

The target audience of this workshop were users and compilers of tourism statistics from the main relevant stakeholders. These included, in particular, National Tourism Administrations, National Statistical Offices, public and private sector tourism researchers, and regional and international organisations.

The workshop was organised by the Japan Tourism Agency (JTA), Nara Prefecture and the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and took place in the framework of the Nara Tourism Statistics Week.

UNWTO Special Workshop on Tourism Statistics
Nara Tourism Statistics Week

Session 1: “Measurement of tourism for policy purposes”

Chair: Mr. Hiroyuki Kamiyama, Nomura Research Institute, Ltd.

In most countries, particularly those with large populations, the size of domestic tourism either in physical flows or in monetary terms is considerably larger than inbound tourism. In recent years, policy makers and statisticians have become increasingly aware of this and have been putting more focus on this aspect of tourism.

The purpose of this topic is to facilitate an exchange of information and to present new methods and techniques used in measuring domestic tourism but also other forms of tourism. Papers and presentations will include hands-on sessions where participants are expected to participate in discussions and activities.

Keynote Speech “From Tourism Statistics to Tourism Policy and Back Again”
Mr. Douglas Frechtling, The George Washington University

Session 2: “Towards a Framework for Measuring the Sustainable Development of Tourism"

Chair: Mr. Ulf Sonntag, NIT

The nature of tourism undoubtedly calls for considering the consequences of tourism development at national and global level. Tourism can have both positive and negative impacts, for example, on the environment, which can impact on its sustainability. Developing coherent indicators, or even a whole system of indicators, for sustainable development of tourism is difficult. The diversity of sustainability indicators currently in use in various countries reflects a lack of agreement on how to measure sustainable development in tourism at national or global level. A clear framework is lacking.

Because tourism is a cross-sectoral activity comprising parts of many industries, its sustainability is dependent on the activities of all industries involved directly and indirectly. Producers or services’ providers in the tourism sector attempt to implement sustainable business practices, e.g. efficient water and energy use in hotels. These business-level practices are well documented and understood. However, identification of the full impact of such activities is limited if only a particular aspect of tourism operations, or only a subset of tourism businesses, is taken into account. It will only be when the entire tourism sector is considered that the “true” sustainability of the sector can be measured.

The purpose of this topic is to raise the awareness of tourism statisticians and policy makers about the issue, and to develop strategies for measuring sustainability in tourism development. One of the outcomes of the workshop should be a stocktake of what we know about indicators for sustainable development of tourism. Another outcome should be to reassess tourism activity in the light of its long-term economic, social and environmental sustainability through a macroeconomic approach: the economic contribution of tourism in terms of TSA aggregates and other complementary and/or alternative modeling exercises.

Session 3: “Institutional and technical requirements for successful Tourism Satellite Account (TSA) implementation"

Tourism is an important part of most countries’ economic, social and cultural activity. A TSA provides an economic measure of the importance of tourism in terms of expenditures, GDP and employment for a given country. It integrates in a single format data about the supply and use of tourism-related goods and services, and it provides a measure of the contribution tourism makes to production and employment. It permits a comparison of tourism with other industries since the concepts and methods used are based on the System of National Accounts.

Not least due to the interdisciplinary character of tourism, the statistical process resulting in an official TSA requires the participation, to varying degrees, of many stakeholders, both public and private, e.g. relevant data providers, data compilers and data users/researchers. The successful development of a TSA requires a culture of collaboration among stakeholders and a number of specific technical issues need to be solved to create a common dataset. The third topic of this workshop provides an overview of the governance implications and technical requirements in developing and setting up a TSA.

TSA Opening Session / Issues of developing TSA in selected countries

Chair: Mr. Mikio Suga, Hosei University

The examples on developing TSA

Chair: Mr. Christophe Demunter, Eurostat Head of the tourism statistics team, European Commission