Reader’s Guide

The statistical data, metadata and sources in this report are accessible online in a single, consolidated source of tourism statistics Individual data sets can be accessed through the following links: Domestic tourism, Inbound tourism, Outbound tourism, Enterprises and employment, Internal tourism consumption, Key indicators in percentage.

The data closely align with the main methodological references and international standards used for tourism statistics:

This note provides the reader with a methodological summary. For more detailed information, please refer to the above-mentioned methodological tools.

The International Recommendations on Tourism Statistics (IRTS) provides a common reference framework for countries to use in the compilation of tourism statistics. It presents an internally consistent system of definitions, concepts, classifications and indicators, and provides general guidance with respect to data sources and data compilation methods.

Tourism can be regarded as a social, cultural and economic phenomenon related to the movement of people outside their usual place of residence. Tourism refers to the activity of visitors.

A visitor is a traveller taking a trip to a main destination outside his/her usual environment, for less than a year, for any main purpose (business, leisure or other personal purpose) other than to be employed in the country or place visited.

A visitor is a tourist if his/her trip includes an overnight stay; otherwise, a visitor is classified as a same -day visitor (or excursionist).

Three basic forms of tourism can be distinguished:

  • Domestic tourism comprises the activities of a resident visitor within the country of reference.

  • Inbound tourism comprises the activities of a non-resident visitor within the country of reference.

  • Outbound tourism comprises the activities of a resident visitor outside the country of reference.

Measuring the flows of visitors: both arrivals and nights are used to assess the flows of visitors. A distinction is made between arrivals at borders and in accommodation, and nights spent in accommodation. As far as overnight tourism is concerned, accommodation statistics are an important statistical source of information on domestic and inbound visitors.

The Tourism Satellite Account (TSA) is a conceptual framework for the economic measurement of tourism in its different components (domestic, inbound and outbound). It also highlights the relationship between consumption by visitors and the supply of goods and services in the economy, principally those from tourism industries. With this instrument, it is possible to estimate tourism GDP, establish the direct contribution of tourism to the economy and develop further analyses using the links between the TSA, the System of National Accounts and the Balance of Payments.

The TSA reconciles tourism data related with supply and demand. Tourism measurement and analysis therefore require a classification of products, mainly those belonging to tourism expenditure, and productive activities that are the basis for defining tourism industries. Tourism characteristic activities are those that typically produce tourism characteristic products. A tourism industry represents the grouping of those establishments whose main activity is the same tourism characteristic activity.

The IRTS 2008 and the TSA-RMF 2008 provide the typology of tourism characteristic consumption products and activities (tourism industries):

The TSA Framework makes a distinction between tourism expenditure and tourism consumption. Tourism expenditure refers to monetary transactions, whereas tourism consumption also includes other transactions: services associated with vacation accommodation on own account, tourism social transfers in kind and other imputed consumption. However, the latter transactions have to be separately evaluated. Therefore, the data might refer to either consumption or expenditure, depending on the country.

Three forms of consumption are distinguished:

  • Domestic tourism consumption: the tourism consumption of a resident visitor within the economy of reference.

  • Inbound tourism consumption: the tourism consumption of a non-resident visitor within the economy of reference.

  • Internal tourism consumption: the tourism consumption of both resident and non-resident visitors within the economy of reference. It is the sum of domestic tourism consumption and inbound tourism consumption.

The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of an economy is defined as the sum of the gross value added generated by all industries. Tourism GDP corresponds to the part of GDP generated by all industries in response to internal tourism consumption. A further distinction must be made between direct tourism GDP and indirect tourism GDP. Put simply, tourism direct GDP reflects the direct value-added generated by industries directly in contact with visitors, while indirect tourism GDP reflects all of the upstream value-added- generated by industries supplying inputs to industries directly in contact with the visitors. The TSA Framework limits its recommendations to the evaluation of direct tourism GDP. The evaluation of indirect tourism GDP would require the use of input-output techniques or adjustments (for imports) of expenditure based measures.

A variety of different data sources are used to measure flows of visitors. Data can be collected directly from individuals about their tourism trips. These ‘demand-side’ sources include visitor or border surveys to measure inbound tourism flows, and resident travel or household surveys to measure domestic and outbound tourism flows. These surveys feed into the tourism consumption (i.e. demand) tables of the TSA (Tables 1-4). Data on domestic and inbound visitors can also be collected from accommodation providers (‘supply-side’).

Data from tourism demand surveys are presented in the country profile statistical tables. In the absence of data from these sources, or where data gaps exist, data from accommodation surveys are published.

For more detailed information on the data sources for individual countries, please refer to relevant datasets and metadata in the online tourism database

The following items of the Balance of Payments are used to assess the monetary flows of visitors.

Travel credits (international travel receipts) cover goods and services for own use or to give away acquired from an economy by non-residents during visits to that economy. Travel debits (international travel expenditure) cover goods and services for own use or to give away acquired from other economies by residents during visits to these other economies.

The goods and services may be purchased by the persons concerned or by another party on their behalf (e.g. business travel). The standard component breakdown of travel is between business and personal travel. Business travel covers goods and services acquired for personal use by persons whose primary purpose of travel is for business. Personal travel covers goods and services acquired by persons going abroad for purposes other than business, such as vacations, participation in recreational and cultural activities, visits with friends and relatives, pilgrimage, and education- and health-related purposes. This breakdown allows for closer links with tourism satellite accounts as well as supply and use tables.

Passenger services cover the transport of people. This category covers all services provided in the international transport of non-residents by resident carriers (credit or international passenger transport receipts) and that of residents by non-resident carriers (debit or international passenger transport expenditure). Passenger services include fares and other expenditure related to the carriage of passengers, any taxes levied on passenger services, and fares that are a part of package tours, cruise fares, rentals, charters, and leases of vessels, aircraft, coaches, or other commercial vehicles with crews for the carriage of passengers.

Enterprises in tourism: An establishment is an enterprise or part of an enterprise that is situated in a single location and in which only a single productive activity is carried out or in which the principal productive activity accounts for most of the value added. For the purposes of comparability across countries, unless otherwise stated, all statistics for enterprises refer to establishments.

Employment in tourism: data on employment refer to people or jobs. In the case of people, the data refer to employees only or to employees and self-employed people (employed people). Full-time equivalent employment is the number of full-time equivalent jobs, defined as total hours worked divided by average annual hours worked in full-time jobs.

Data expressed in US dollar terms: for some tables, national currency data have been converted to US dollar data. Exchanges rates are collected from the OECD database.

The vast majority of the data used in this publication are submitted by countries. All the detailed metadata and sources can be found under the right-hand side information panel in the on-line OECD database at

The OECD member countries are: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, the Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Türkiye, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Other partner countries covered in this report are: Brazil, Bulgaria, Croatia, Indonesia, Malta, Montenegro, Morocco, Peru, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Serbia and South Africa.

  • AUD Australian Dollar

  • BGN Bulgarian Lev

  • BRL Brazilian Real

  • CAD Canadian Dollar

  • CHF Swiss Franc

  • CLP Chilean Peso

  • COP Colombian Peso

  • CRC Costa Rican Colon

  • CZK Czech Koruna

  • DKK Danish Krone

  • EUR Euro (Austria, Belgium, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Montenegro, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain)

  • GBP United Kingdom Pound Sterling

  • HRK Croatia Kuna

  • HUF Hungarian Forint

  • IDR Indonesian Rupiah

  • ILS Israeli Shequel

  • ISK Iceland Krona

  • JPY Japanese Yen

  • KRW Korean Won

  • MAD Moroccan Dirham

  • MXN Mexican Peso

  • NOK Norwegian Krone

  • NZD New Zealand Dollar

  • PEN Peruvian Sol

  • PLN Polish Zloty

  • RON Romanian Leu

  • RSD Serbian Dinar

  • SAR Saudi Riyal

  • SEK Swedish Krona

  • TRY Turkish Lira

  • USD United States Dollar

  • ZAR South African Rand

These symbols are used in the country tables:

│ Break in series

.. Data is not available

e Estimated data or data based on the use of a limited amount of data

f Forecast value

In some cases, due to rounding and specifics of electronic data processing technologies, slight discrepancies may occur between totals and sums of components in those tables that are based on survey information

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