Page tree
Skip to end of metadata
Go to start of metadata

3.140.           Defined as the tourism activity of a country’s residents outside its economic territory, outbound tourism can be observed in two ways movements by taking the same approach as for either inbound tourism (that is, observing at or near the border (see para. 3.10)), or domestic tourism (that is, using a household survey once the trip is concluded (see sect. D above)). In the first case, adjustments might be required, since the object of observation, an outbound visit, could be part of either an outbound or a domestic trip.

3.141.           As in the case of inbound tourism, Balance‑of‑Payments compilers will be interested in establishing the characteristics of all resident outbound travel, and combining resources within an inter‑institutional platform will foster quality measurement.

3.142.           Countries often defer the observation of outbound tourism in general to a stage later, than that for inbound and domestic tourism. This is because its impact on the local economy is experienced as a “loss” (an import), since the corresponding economic transactions occur between a resident visitor and a non‑resident service provider. However, if, within a tourism promotion policy, national travellers are to be encouraged to select domestic destinations, the reasons for their choice of foreign travel need to be understood.

3.143.           Most of the suggestions and recommendations made previously for the observation of inbound and domestic tourism are also valid in the case of outbound tourism. Obviously, some of the recommendations for inbound tourism will need to be inverted. In phase one, for instance, the flows referred to should be observed as resident travellers leave the country, and the characteristics of their trips should be observed when, or after, they return, i.e., upon completion of their trip.

3.144.           Points made with respect to inbound tourism, about the typology of modes of transport for entering or leaving a country (see sect. C.1.1), the complex conceptual and statistical issues arising in specific situations (see sect. C.1.2) and the main statistical sources used (see sect. C.2.2) – are valid here as well.

3.145.           If appropriate and feasible, countries could conduct observation procedures for outbound tourism both at the border and through household surveys, simultaneously, with the aim of comparing the results obtained in each case. Such exercises could provide some critical insight into the procedures used to measure outbound tourism. If large differences are found, for instance, in respect of the number of trips or in the measurement of outbound versus inbound tourism, this would call both procedures into question, and might serve as a possible basis for review.

3.146.           Like of domestic tourism, and possibly even to a greater extent, outbound tourism may be particularly prevalent among specific segments of the population, e.g., those living near land borders, residents of foreign origin or families of emigrants. It might be important, for the purposes of analysis or the adjustment of domestic tourism measurements in TSA terms, to observe see characteristics in this regard for different subsets of visitors within the reference population (see IRTS 2008, para. 2.39 (c); and TSA: RMF 2008, para. 4.40).

3.147.           Similarly, when measuring tourism flows and characteristics of trips and visitors, the same classifications identified for inbound tourism (see paras. 3.99 and 3.100 above), are also applicable to outbound tourism.

3.148.           Outbound tourism sometimes includes multi‑destination trips, i.e., to more than one country. It must therefore be decided whether to collect information on each country visited. If it is decided that information is to be collected, the question becomes, how much. For example, is it sufficient merely to identify the individual countries visited, without breaking down the data according to other characteristics, such as purpose of trip, length of stay or expenditure? Or should such details be covered for each country visited? The answer will depend on the data needed and the resources available for collecting them. An alternative approach in some countries is to identify only the main country visited (the one central to the decision to take the trip), at the risk of understating the number of reference‑country residents visiting other countries. However, in the case of expenditure, total expenditure relating to all destinations should be collected, to ensure compatibility with Balance‑of‑Payments requirements.

3.149.           The points made about the table of results for domestic tourism (see sect. D.3) apply as well in the case of outbound tourism.

Table III.4

Example of a table of results for outbound tourism


“000”: thousands

“US$ Mn: millions of United States dollars 

Box III.39

Country example – U.S. citizens traveling to international regions


Source: United States Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration, Office of Travel and Tourism Industries (OTTI). Released 12 March 2013.