Tourism plays a major role in the EU and global economies. The UNWTO estimates the impact of tourism in the world economy as 9% of world GDP, while in the EU it is the third-largest socio-economic sector and has generally remained robust throughout the financial crisis. Measuring the precise impact of tourism-related activities on GDP or employment does, however, pose certain challenges. Although tourism is officially recognized as a directly-measurable activity, and despite the progress reported in harmonizing definitions and measurements, differences in national practices still present difficulties in fully capturing the economic importance of tourism and achieving full comparability of the resulting measurements. At the recent 12th Global Forum on Tourism Statistics a number of projects were presented aiming to promote methods for measuring the indirect economic and social effects of tourism and to improve existing registers of statistical data.

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