Understanding the landscape of inbound tourism measurement

This project analyses the approaches of a range of selected destinations to measuring inbound tourism and identify the strengths and limitations of different methods.

Start date

21 January 2021

End date

31 March 2021


Commissioned by VisitBritain, this research project firstly overviews the International Passenger Survey (IPS) used in the UK as a tool to measure inbound arrivals and expenditure. It then summarises the approaches used by twelve destinations that share some similarities to the UK: Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Ireland, South Korea, USA, South Africa, Hong Kong, the EU as a whole as well as France, Austria and Saudi Arabia. Details of official measures such as the data collecting methods, data processing, publishing schedules are provided and mapped.

Additionally, given the interruption during the Covid-19 crisis, the study explores complementary data sources that can be applied as mitigation when traditional data collection is substantially interrupted. Alternative potential or emerging types of measures considered or used by these destinations, including mobile positioning data, bank card transaction data and Google trends data are investigated. Further details of the approaches used by each of the selected destinations are provided in the form of case studies.

Funding amount





Chen, J.L., Li, G., Liu, A. and Williams, A.M. (2021) Understanding the landscape of inbound tourism measurement (PDF).

Research groups and centres

We have a world-class reputation for our research in hospitality, tourism, transport and events.

SCHOOL OF HOSPITALITY AND TOURISM MANAGEMENT Centre for Competitiveness of the Visitor Economy