Tools for Harmonising Tourism Statistics and Educating Users and Producers in the European Union
Christophe Demunter
Unit F6 - Information Society and Tourism Statistics, European Commission - DG Eurostat, Luxembourg, Luxembourg

The paper introduces the process and decision making methodology applied to set up reporting templates and a methodological manual and shows the educational value of practical application examples for users and producers of tourism statistics.

Not only worldwide, but also in the European Union, policy makers have shown an increased interest in tourism, and consequently in tourism statistics. In parallel, this evolution has increased the calls for comparable, complete and reliable statistics. In recent years, many international or supranational initiatives have tried to answer this need. Within the European Statistical System - the network linking Eurostat and the national statistical authorities - efforts have been made to improve the harmonisation of data and metadata. Important actions include the introduction of a structured way of transmitting metadata and quality information using standard reporting templates, and the development of a methodological manual for tourism statistics. While the first aims at improving the clarity and relevance of the data for the users as well as the exchange of good practices among the producers, the latter aims at improving the harmonisation of the output through a better harmonisation of methods and techniques at the input side of the statistical production process. The relevance of compiling metadata and of introducing ingredients and recipes for better harmonised tourism statistics and better understanding of their significance via a methodological manual is illustrated in the paper by means of a real-life example of how different tourism statistics led to different conclusions for policy makers in relation to the effects of the recent economic turmoil on tourism demand.

Keywords: Tourism statistics; Metadata; Quality reporting; Methodological manual

Biography: Christophe Demunter has been working in the field of official statistics since 1997. First on labour market statistics at Statistics Belgium and the National Bank of Belgium. In 2004 he moved to Luxembourg to join Eurostat. After having worked on information society statistics, he took over the responsibility of the tourism statistics section at Eurostat in 2006.