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Desertification Indicator System for Mediterranean Europe

1. Definition



Brief definition

The Local GDP contribution from the tourism sector in the area.

Unit of measure


2. Position within the logical framework DPSIR

Type of Indicator

Driving force

3. Target and political pertinence


The indicator shows the importance of the tourism sector to the local economy, giving a measure of its contribution to the local GDP.

Importance with respect to desertification

Tourism is one of the most important social and economic activities in Europe. It has grown by almost 5% per annum since the early 1970s. There is a growing recognition that at many tourist destinations, traditional management practices have led to undesirable social and environmental impacts, also contributing to land degradation processes (see the importance of Tourism intensity with respect to desertification).

International Conventions and agreements

In 1996, three international organizations - the World Travel & Tourism Council, the World Tourism Organization and the Earth Council - joined together to launch an action plan: "Agenda 21 for the Travel & Tourism Industry: Towards Environmentally Sustainable Development", a sectoral sustainable development programme based on the results of the 1992 Earth Summit. The UN Commission for Sustainable Development, at its Seventh Session in 1999, considered tourism as an economic sector, held a multi-stakeholder dialogue on the topic and adopted an international work programme on sustainable tourism development. Implementation of the programme were reviewed in 2002 as part of the 10- year review of progress achieved since the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED).

With respect to the European Commission, Article 3u in the Amsterdam Treaty included, for the first time, 'measures in the sphere of tourism' in the list of Community activities chosen in support of the Community's overall objectives. The Treaty gives no particular guidance for a Community tourism policy and there is no specific legal basis for Community measures on tourism. In 1999, while discussing the Commission's communication "Enhancing Tourism's Potential for Employment" the Council of (Internal Market) Ministers recalled the importance of better integration of the needs of the tourism sector into other Community policies and invited the Commission and the Member States to work together on a number of priority issues including promoting environmental protection and sustainable development in tourism. EU Working groups (Member States and European Commission) addressed these issues and were due to recommend a set of policies to the Council by mid-2001.

Secondary objectives of the indicator

The indicator contributes information to tourism developers, who have to face the challenge of creating a balance between economic growth and the preservation (or enhancement) of environmental and social processes.

4. Methodological description and basic definitions

Definitions and basic concepts

Travel & Tourism Economy GDP should include the direct and indirect added value associated with Travel & Tourism demand including: Travel & Tourism consumption plus Travel & Tourism capital investment (private sector and public sector), Travel & Tourism government expenditures (collective) and Travel & Tourism foreign trade (non-visitor).

Travel and Tourism Demand includes: 1) Government Expenditure (Collective) by agencies and departments associated with Travel and Tourism, but made on behalf of the community-at-large, such as tourism promotion, aviation administration, security services and sanitation services. 2) Capital Investment by Travel and Tourism providers (the private sector) and governmental agencies (the public sector) to provide facilities, equipment and infrastructure to visitors. 3) Exports (Non-visitor) which include consumer goods sent abroad for ultimate sale to visitors (such as clothing, electronic appliances or gasoline) or capital goods sent abroad for use by industry service providers (such as aircraft or cruise ships).

Travel and Tourism Consumption includes: consumer expenditure including traditional personal spending by residents on services that are normally associated with Travel and Tourism (lodging, transportation, entertainments, meals, financial services, etc.); as well as goods (durable and non-durable) which are purchased by residents and used for Travel and Tourism activities.

Business and Governmental Expenditures for "business travel" mirror those of personal consumption (transportation, accommodation, meals, entertainment, etc.), but are undertaken in the course of business or governmental work. There are also Individual Government Expenditures by agencies and departments such as cultural institutions (art museums) or national parks and customs and immigration on behalf of individual visitors. Visitor Exports are expenditures by international visitors on goods and services in a resident economy.

Benchmarks Indication of the values/ranges of value

I° range: < Local Mean -St. Dev.
II° range: >Local Mean - St. Dev. < Local Mean
III° range: > Local Mean < Local Mean + St. Dev.
IV° range: > Local Mean + St. Dev

Methods of measurement

See Definitions and basic concepts.

Limits of the indicator

In some case the indirect effects of tourism are not easy to measure, because of the large numbers of linkages and multiple effects on the local and national economy.

Linkages with other indicators

The indicator is closely linked both to general economic and tourism indicators such as GDP per capita, added value by employment, Tourism intensity.

5. Evaluation of data needs and availability

Data required to calculate the indicator

Travel & Tourism consumption plus Travel & Tourism capital investment (private sector and public sector), Travel & Tourism government expenditures (collective) and Travel & Tourism foreign trade (non-visitor).

Data sources

The primary data sources are national statistical offices.

Availability of data from national and international sources

In some case, both at national and sub-national level, date of indirect effects are not available or are incomplete. Apart from national statistical offices, other sources are WTO, Eurostat and OECD.

6. Institutions that have participated in developing the indicator

Main institutions responsible


Other contributing organizations

Universities of Basilicata, Lisbon, Murcia, Athens.

7. Additional information


Eurostat-OECD-WTO, Tourism Satellite Account (TSA): Methodological References, 2000.

Other references

World Tourism Organisation, 1996. What tourism managers need to know. A practical guide to the development and use of indicators of sustainable tourism, WTO Spain.

Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, 1994. Environmental Indicators - OECD Core Set, OECD Paris.


Contacts Name and address

University of Basilicata
Prof Giovanni Quaranta
email: quaranta@unibas.it