Research and statistics guidance

The approach taken by DCMS when preparing and publishing statistics, including for tourism.


For credibility and in order to be useful, statistics need to be produced to common standards and to consistent definitions. This is to ensure that data are comparable between areas or subjects, as well as over time.

This guide explains the approach taken by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) when preparing and publishing statistics. It also outlines DCMS’ role in the following:

  • DCMS Evidence Toolkit (DET)
  • English Tourism Intelligence Partnership and Tourism intelligence Unit
  • Tourism Satellite Accounts (TSA)
  • Tourism statistics - European methodology

Common standards

Some of our statistics are designated national statistics, which means they must meet the Framework for National Statistics(PDF 168KB) and the National Statistics Code of Practice. We work to ensure that all our work meets these high standards, which ensure relevance, quality, integrity and freedom from political interference.

DCMS Evidence Toolkit

The DCMS Evidence Toolkit (DET) is an interactive web-based guide to accessing and using information about the cultural sector (including sport and tourism). You can view the toolkit on the National Archives.

It is a flexible model for the development and use of statistics which:

  • establishes a blueprint for the analysis of the cultural sector by outlining standard conceptual and technical definitions
  • provides a reference point on how to use key data sources for a range of purposes
  • outlines best practice measures for researching in this sector

The DET grew out of a consultation process, engaging representatives from a range of bodies such as regional cultural consortia (RCCs), public bodies, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and regional development agencies (RDAs). You can read about the development of the toolkit in the DET Technical Report (August 2004) (PDF, 509 KB, 80 pages).

English Tourism Intelligence Partnership and Tourism Intelligence Unit

In 2008, the English Tourism Intelligence Partnership (ETIP) was set up to improve tourism intelligence and statistics within England. It established the Tourism Intelligence Unit (TIU), within the Office of National Statistics (ONS).

The TIU has produced a series of guidance notes entitled Measuring Tourism Locally which are available from ONS.

Tourism Satellite Accounts (TSA)

Tourism is a challenging sector on which to derive statistics since businesses serving tourists also serve local people. Therefore it is not straightforward to estimate how much of business sectors’ revenue and how many jobs are due to tourist expenditure.

In response to this issue, a methodology called a Tourism Satellite Account (TSA) was developed. This has the backing of the UN, Eurostat, OECD and the World Tourism Organisation. You can read a detailed report on the approach.

The Tourism Intelligence Unit is now taking this work forward.

Tourism statistics - European methodology

All member states of the EU are required to produce a minimum set of data according to a common set of standards.

You can download a summary of the requirements (PDF 67KB).

Published 25 February 2013