Sector covered in the first phase 2002/03:

Sector definition and focus

Tourism is usually defined as services for people travelling to and staying outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure or for business purposes. This sector does not fit easily into any current industry classifications. In fact, activities related with tourism are covered by a wide range of NACE categories. For the e-Business W@tch goals, we have two selection criteria in order to define the scope of the sector to be analysed based on NACE categories:

  • those activities should be included that make up a significant share of the tourism market as defined above
  • on the other hand, those activities with at least some relation to tourism but which are very important as potential and actual users of ICT should also be included

Generally speaking, tourism involves a wide range of activities (transport, accommodation, restaurant, cultural activities, leisure) and should be better viewed and evaluate as a market rather than an industry. Due to its composite nature and variety of activities involved either directly or indirectly, the relative value of tourism in the European economy is not difficult to assess and depends clearly on the definition adopted. Moreover, the rationale of the "tourism" market is very diverse depending on whether tourism is done for business purposes or for leisure, and within the "leisure" group different types can be identified as well (e.g. international/national, cultural/out-door, round-trips/location-based).

Concerning park activities (92.33), museums activities and historical sites (92.52) and botanical gardens and nature reserves (92.53), it should be stressed that these activities lack comprehensive statistical coverage and official statistics. Nevertheless, technological change pervades across these activities because of promotion and advertising, online reservation, so that these activities are very interesting for the e-Business W@tch. Establishments where tourism prevails over leisure are a particular focus of analysis. Camping sites and other provision of short-stay accommodation (55.2) are included because this code includes holiday villages and other short-stay accommodation that are important users of online reservation tools.

Restaurants, canteens and catering services are excluded because they do not fit the criteria presented above. They would have to be analysed as a unit of their own. Otherwise, there is the danger of drawing generic conclusions from a set of data that covers a too diverse mixture of businesses.

Code Activity
55.1 Hotels
55.2 Camping sites and other provision of short-stay accommodation
62.1 Scheduled air transport
63.3 Activities of travel agencies and tour operators; tourist assistance activities n.e.c.
92.33 Fair and amusement park activities
92.52 Museums activities and preservation of historical sites and buildings
92.53 Botanical and zoological gardens and nature reserves activities


The tourism sector is a forerunner in using ICT and e-business. The unexpectedly fast adoption of the internet has a major impact on travel and tourism services, especially in the areas marketing and B2C e-commerce. Experts observe and forecast an increasing trend in disintermediation between demand and supply of tourism services.

European association(s)