Tourism Seasonality

Tourism Seasonality

Most tourist destinations in the world are affected by the phenomenon of seasonality. Destinations with high fluctuations in seasonality often face various challenges, such as overcrowding, high prices, inadequate infrastructure in peak seasons, as well as a lack of services and job opportunities in shoulder and low seasons. Seasonality is a measurable feature with significant economic and social impacts. 

Understanding the main characteristics can help to modify its occurrence. Causes can be natural such as the seasons and related climate conditions, or institutional such as public and school holidays. Consequently, seasonality is regular and consistent and can be predictable and anticipated. This makes it more possible to mitigate. 

To measure the degree of seasonality, destinations can use specific indicators, ranging from tourist arrivals to occupancy rates. There are also indicators regarding initiatives to strengthen shoulder and low season periods, as well as measuring the level of effort designed to reduce seasonality. As seasonality is a factor in unemployment, seasonal employment and turnover of staff, indicators regarding the effects of seasonality on employment are important tools to monitor its social impact.


Tourism Seasonality, Excerpt from Indicators of Sustainable Development of Tourism Destinations, A Guidebook, World Tourism Organization (2004), pp.111–116.
Indicators for the Tourism SectorWhat Tourism Managers Need to Know, World Tourism Organization (1997), pp. 11–12.
3rd UNWTO Conference on Overcoming Seasonality (Conclusions), World Tourism Organization (2015)


Video Recording of Technical INSTO Webinar on Seasonality, World Tourism Organization (07/2021).
Tourism Seasonality, Presentation at the Technical INSTO Webinar, by Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association (07/2021).
Tourism Seasonality, Presentation at the Technical INSTO Webinar, by Mallorca Tourism Board (07/2021).
Tourism Seasonality, Presentation at the Technical INSTO Webinar, by City of São Paulo (07/2021).
Experience Project, Presentation at the Technical INSTO Webinar, by University of Surrey (07/2021).
Monthly Tourism Statistics, Presentation at the Technical INSTO Webinar, by Eurostat, European Commission (07/2021).


Measuring the Sustainability of Tourism (MST), UNWTO
System of Environmental Economic Accounting (SEEA), United Nations