UNSD Statistics of International Trade in Services Section is working in close collaboration with UNWTO on developing and maintaining methodological work in the area of tourism statistics and supporting the drafting work of the International Recommendations on Tourism Statistics 2008 (IRTS 2008) and the Tourism Satellite Accounts: Recommended Methodological Framework 2008 (TSA 2008). Both recommendations were adopted by the UN Statistical Commission in 2008.
The Section is also involved in supporting the implementation of the international recommendations and in organizing regional workshops and online courses to support regional capacity development around the world.
Current International Recommendation on Tourism Statistics and related documents:
- Manual on Statistics of International Trade in Services 2010 (MSITS 2010)
- International Recommendations for Tourism Statistics 2008 (IRTS 2008)
- Tourism Satellite Account: Recommended Methodological Framework 2008
Compliation Guidelines to support the implementation process:
UNWTO Committee on Statistics and TSA
The Section frequently collaborates with the UN World Tourism Organization on data collection, global assessments, and technical guidelines; more information is available here.
The Section also supports the work of the UNWTO Committee on Statistics and the Tourism Satellite Account.
Working Group on Measuring Sustainable Tourism
Tourism is increasingly being recognized for its global economic, social and environmental impacts, as the United Nations 70th General Assembly has designated 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development (A/RES/70/193).
Three of the Sustainable Development Goals are directly related to tourism:
- 8.9 - By 2030, devise and implement policies to promote sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products
- 12.b - Develop and implement tools to monitor sustainable development impacts for sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products
- 14.7 - By 2030, increase the economic benefits to Small Island developing States and least developed countries from the sustainable use of marine resources, including through sustainable management of fisheries, aquaculture and tourism
The Inter-agency and Expert Group on SDG Indicators (IAEG-SDGs), composed of Member States and including regional and international agencies as observers, has been tasked to develop an indicator framework for the goals and targets of the post-2015 development agenda at the global level, and to support its implementation.
Expert Group on drafting TSA Compilers Guide
The Tourism Satellite Account: Recommended Methodological Framework 2008, provides an updated framework for constructing a Tourism Satellite Account (TSA). The purpose of a TSA is to analyze in detail all the aspects of demand for goods and services associated with the activity of visitors; to observe the operational interface with the supply of such goods and services within the economy; and to describe how this supply interacts with other economic activities. It permits greater internal consistency of tourism statistics with the rest of the statistical system of a country, as well as increased international comparability of these data. The framework was supported for international use by the UN Statistical Commission in 2008 and its implementation is ongoing.
In 2016 UNSD conducted a global assessment on compilation practices of the TSA. The results showed that while many countries did compile a TSA, challenges with implementation were faced by developed and developing countries. The UNWTO Committee on Statistics and TSA recognized the existence of these compilation issues and recommended the drafting of a Compilation Guide for TSA. Subsequently, in March 2017 the UN Statistical Commission agreed with the proposal to prepare a compilation guide for the TSA under the supervision of the UNWTO Committee on Statistics and TSA. In addition, the UN Statistical Commission stressed the need for capacity building of tourism statistics and TSA.
UN Global Working Group on Big Data
The potential use of big data in official statistics, including tourism, is becoming increasingly apparent, as the Statistical Commission agreed at its 45th session to create the Global Working Group (GWG) on Big Data for Official Statistics to further investigate the benefits and challenges of big data, including the potential for monitoring and reporting on the sustainable development goals. In this context, the GWG and the greater official statistical community recognize the need to adequately address issues pertaining to methodology, quality, technology, data access, legislation, privacy, management and finance, and provide adequate cost-benefit analyses on the use of big data.
Task Team on Mobile Phone data for Tourism Statistics
The Task Team on Mobile Phone Data is created as a separate team, since Mobile Phone Data has surfaced in recent years as one of the Big Data sources with a lot of promise. It is expected that Mobile Phone data could fill data gaps especially for developing countries. The objectives of the Task Team are (1) executing one or more pilot projects on the use of mobile phone data for official statistics and (2) documenting and publishing the lessons learned, as well as (3) preparing and maintaining a knowledge base on the use of mobile phone data.
The International Recommendations for Tourism Statistics 2008 provides a comprehensive methodological framework for collection and compilation of tourism statistics in all countries irrespective of the level of development of their statistical systems. Its primary audience is the staff of national statistical offices and national tourism administrations involved in the compilation of tourism statistics.
The recommendations were drafted by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in close cooperation with the United Nations Statistics Division, the International Labour Organization (ILO) and other members of the Inter-Agency Coordination Group on Tourism Statistics. A draft version of the recommendations was reviewed and endorsed by the United Nations Expert Group on Tourism Statistics in June 2007 and was adopted by the Statistical Commission at its thirty-ninth session (E/CN.3/2008/34)
The previous version, Recommendations on Tourism Statistics was adopted by the United Nations Statistical Commission at its twenty-seventh session, in 1993. At the same session, the Commission also adopted the Standard International Classification of Tourism Activities (SICTA) as a provisional classification for use by countries (E/CN.3/1993/26).
The International Recommendations for Tourism Statistics 2008 Compilation Guide is a companion document to the International Recommendations for Tourism Statistics (IRTS 2008). The primary purpose of this Compilation Guide is to provide further clarifications and practical guidance for using sources and methods to compile statistics on tourism. It is designed to support the production of a high quality set of basic data and indicators in each country, and to strengthen the international comparability of tourism statistics.
The Tourism Satellite Account: Recommended Methodological Framework 2008, provides an updated framework for constructing a Tourism Satellite Account. The purpose of a Tourism Satellite Account is to analyze in detail all the aspects of demand for goods and services associated with the activity of visitors; to observe the operational interface with the supply of such goods and services within the economy; and to describe how this supply interacts with other economic activities. It permits greater internal consistency of tourism statistics with the rest of the statistical system of a country, as well as increased international comparability of these data. The updating process was undertaken by UNWTO under the scrutiny of the Inter-agency Coordination Group on Tourism Statistics.