by Seth BUTERA March 24, 2022
Understanding and measuring a country’s competitiveness in tourism is a major consideration and challenge for policymakers and professionals in providing evidence to inform decision-making.
Whereas tourism is recognized as one of the key sectors of development in all countries and a major source of income, jobs, and wealth creation. It also plays a wider role in promoting the image and international perception of a country externally as well as influencing complementary domestic policies.
Various indicators have been developed by different organizations over the years to address particular aspects of competitiveness but there has remained a lack of an overall measurement framework for competitiveness in tourism for the use of governments.
The measurement framework comprises three types of indicators that can be applied to measure competitiveness in tourism – core, supplementary, and future development. And below are 11 core indicators ideal for measuring tourism competitiveness.
Tourism Direct Gross Domestic Product; A comparison of TDGDP change over years is a key statistic of tourism competitiveness and will reinforce the use of the TSA. The focus is on direct impacts, domestic and inbound tourism consumption. The challenge for the future is about measuring the indirect and induced impacts. A comparison of TDGDP change over years is perhaps the single most quotable statistic of tourism competitiveness.
Inbound tourism revenues per visitor by source market; A measure of the economic activity of visitors identifying the percentage growth or decline year-on-year in inbound tourism revenues per visitor by source market. The focus is on inbound tourism consumption. The challenge is data availability and consistent protocols.
Overnights in all types of accommodation; A measure of tourism flow in accommodation, capturing the percentage growth or decline year-on-year in overnights in all types of accommodation or, if not available, in hotels and similar establishments. The focus is on inbound and domestic (internal) tourism economies. The challenge is measuring unregistered and private accommodation.
Exports of tourism services; A measure of exports of tourism services and relative performance compared with other sectors, capturing growth or decline year-on-year in value and in percentage. The focus is on inbound tourism consumption. The challenge is to collect detailed data for sub-segments. The measure will show a change in performance reflecting competition in terms of brand, value awareness, and international appeal.
Labour productivity in tourism services; A measure of the level and evolution of productivity of those employed in tourism and the productive potential of the tourism economy shown in a table of productivity measures and growth rates by country. Productivity is the main dimension of competitiveness. The challenge relates to difficulties of measurement, particularly to address quality issues and the specificity of the tourism sector including the small size of businesses.
Purchasing Power Parity (PPPs) and tourism prices; A measure of tourism price level differences across countries expressed as indices with a basis (real or artificial) chosen by country or country group. Changing costs are among the most important competitiveness factors. The challenge is to develop detailed tourism sector-specific item groups and prices for individual items.
Country entry visa requirements; A measure of entry visa requirements including methods of visa issuance and of the number of visas issued per year and share of inbound tourism arrivals. Traveler mobility is a critical element and visa issues are part of the competitiveness environment. The challenge is to find a suitable format for policy analysis given that visa policies vary considerably across countries.
Natural resources and biodiversity; A measure of a country’s stock of natural assets, in terms of the number of recognized natural heritage sites and preserved areas. This should be assessed alongside information on biodiversity and ecosystems, geographic location, and population density. Natural resources are key drivers of attractiveness and offer countries a competitive advantage. The challenge is to identify a consolidated measure. Cultural and creative resources – a composite measure of the number of recognized cultural and creative attractions in different forms. Cultural and creative resources are key drivers of attractiveness. Building a strategy that capitalizes on cultural and creative resources can provide competitive advantages. The challenge is to identify a consolidated measure.
Visitor satisfaction; A measure of demand-side attractiveness value, using a comparable measure of visitor satisfaction rating and intention for repeat visits. Visitor satisfaction is an important qualitative indicator from the demand side. The challenge is to collect data that are based on solid statistical methods and allow comparison over time.
National Tourism Action Plan; A competitiveness eligibility indicator that recognizes the existence and quality of implementation, effectiveness, and evaluation of a National Tourism Action Plan to improve the competitiveness of tourism in a country. The challenge is to see how best to capture the value of the action plan to improve the competitiveness of a destination.