15. The current tourism statistics environment, as discussed earlier, results partly from the fact that tourism is a complex and very fragmented activity. Before attempting to statistically measure or describe the activity it is necessary to define it. A wide variety of definitions have been used which attempt to define tourism in terms of the activities of suppliers, the activities of consumers, the type of consumer, or some other perception of what tourism is.
16. Tourism is commonly seen as, and referred to as, an 'industry'. This leads to consideration of defining tourism as an industry, i.e. in terms of the activities of suppliers of particular goods or services. However, defining tourism in terms of the activities of suppliers leads to some difficulty. In Australia, the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC), provides the categories of economic activity which can be selected to define an industry. Those categories identify the production or supply of a particular commodity (i.e. a good or service). However, in the case of tourism what makes an economic (or any other type of) transaction 'tourism' is not the particular type of commodity involved. What identifies a transaction as tourism is the particular type of consumer involved. The supply of any product to a person who is a 'tourist' is a tourism activity while the supply of the same product to a person who is not a 'tourist' is not a tourism activity. The supplier of that product will in the first case be part of the 'tourism industry', while in the second case the supplier will not be part of the 'tourism industry'. That is, tourism is defined in terms of consumer activity rather than in terms of supplier activity.
17. After considerable debate and discussion, this demand side concept of what constitutes tourism was adopted by the WTO in 1993 as the international standard for statistical purposes, and the following definition of tourism was developed: "Tourism comprises the activities of persons travelling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes."
18. As an activity is 'tourism' only when the consumer or purchaser is a tourist, defining 'tourism' comes down to defining 'tourist'. It is required then to identify those types of persons whose activities constitute 'tourism'.
19. The WTO has developed a schematic breakdown of all travellers (see Figure 1). At the highest level, a 'traveller' is defined as: "any person on a trip between two or more countries or two or more localities within his/her country of usual residence".
20. 'Travellers' are categorised into 'visitors' and 'other travellers'. The category 'visitors' provides the means for identifying those persons whose activities constitute 'tourism'. A 'visitor' is defined as: "any person travelling to a place other than that of his/her usual environment for less than twelve months and whose main purpose of trip is other than the exercise of an activity remunerated from within the place visited".
21. The three fundamental criteria that distinguish visitors from other travellers are as follows:
- the trip should be to a place other than that of the usual environment, which would exclude more or less regular trips between the place in which the person carries out his/her work or study and the place in which he/she had his/her domicile;
- the stay in the place visited should not last more than twelve consecutive months, beyond which the visitor would become a resident of that place (from the statistical standpoint); and
22. These three criteria (which are discussed further in Chapter 2) impose only limited restrictions on the purposes of travel which enable a traveller to be classified as a visitor. Consequently, a visitor may be someone who is travelling for the purpose of pleasure, business, professional, sport, health, education or religious purposes. This is considerably wider in scope than the commonly perceived idea of a tourist as only being a person who is travelling for pleasure/leisure purposes. As tourism comprises the activities of all of these categories of travellers, what is usually referred to as 'tourism' would, in fact, be more accurately referred to as 'visitor activity'. The term 'visitor', with its wider application, is used in this context throughout this Framework, rather than the term 'tourist', which (as is discussed in Chapter 2 - The CONSUMER) is identified as a sub-category of 'visitor'.
- the main purpose of the visit should be other than the exercise of an activity remunerated from within the place visited, which would exclude migratory movements for work purposes.
Forms of tourism
23. The UN/WTO standards distinguish three basic forms of tourism:
- Domestic tourism, involving residents of the given country travelling only within this country;
- Inbound tourism, involving non-residents travelling in the given country;
24. The same forms of tourism may be described by replacing the word 'country' with the word 'region'. 'Region' may refer either to an area within a country or to a group of countries.
25. The three basic forms of tourism set out above can be combined in various ways to derive the following categories of tourism:
- Outbound tourism, involving residents travelling in another country.
- 'internal tourism', which comprises 'domestic tourism' and 'inbound tourism';
- 'national tourism', which comprises 'domestic tourism' and 'outbound tourism'; and
26. It should be noted that the term 'domestic' used in the tourism context differs from its use in the National Accounts context. 'Domestic', in the tourism context retains its original marketing connotations, i.e. residents travelling within their own country. In the National Accounts context it would refer to the activities and expenditures of both residents and non-residents travelling within the reference country, i.e. both 'domestic tourism' and 'inbound tourism'.
27. The framework is structured to focus on statistics on 'internal tourism'. However, the same definitions and classifications can be applied to statistics on 'national tourism' and 'international tourism'.
- 'international tourism', which comprises 'inbound tourism' and 'outbound tourism'.
This page last updated 20 January 2006