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Statisticians zone in on distinction between travel, tourism

(CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana)     Travel is not equivalent to Tourism.
This was a key message that was impressed upon participants at a Regional Workshop on Travel and International Tourism Consumption, hosted by the Central Statistics Office, Roseau, Dominica, 14–17 May, 2013.
Workshop participants were advised that while travel and tourism were strongly related, they were not totally overlapping. Conceptually, travel – a balance of payments transaction measured by countries as an internationally traded service – refers to the expenditure of travellers in the economy visited. Travelers are defined as persons who move between geographic locations for any purpose and any duration except for changing place of residence. Tourism, on the other hand, encompasses the activities of a sub-group of travellers termed visitors, who travel outside their usual residence for a period less than a year and for a main purpose such as business, leisure or other personal activity. The main purpose, however, cannot be for employment by an entity within the geographic location visited. Tourism expenditure refers to their acquisition of goods and services and valuable in the economy visited.

The four-day workshop explored concepts relative to the distinction between Travel and Tourism expenditure, including: the scope of persons, the scope of expenditure concerned, as well as the methods used for their measurement.
Participants, who included representatives of National Statistical Offices, Central Banks and Ministries/Departments of Tourism of the Region, were also given an overview of various international manuals and compilation guides that were prepared or are in progress in these areas including the 2010 Manual on Statistics of International Trade in Services.

The workshop also featured presentations from participating countries in a number of areas including: estimating travel in the Balance of Payments using the International Transaction Reporting System of the Banks; main data sources for Estimating Tourism Expenditure as part of tourism statistics; Difficulties and Challenges Confronted when Producing Tourism Statistics; and measuring Employment in Tourism. Statistics Canada also gave presentations on methodological and practical issues relating to Tourism Expenditure and other elements of tourism demand including investment in non-financial assets and expenditure of government in support of tourism and establishing a Tourism Satellite Account.
Among the recommendations which Member States and organizers are to take on board are:
• Review the methodologies used in the data collection, processing and  estimation procedures of  Visitor Expenditure Surveys;
• Focused and intensive attention to be given to identifying the basic data sources, including already existing official sources used in measuring Travel; and compiling Tourism Data to ensure that they are internally and mutually consistent and reliable across agencies within the respective countries and across countries;
• Presentation of documentation about the Data and Methods in a coherent and structured manner;
• Developing and strengthening institutional arrangements between agencies (National Statistical Offices, Central Banks, National Tourism Administrations, etc.) producing data on these fields within countries because of the high overlapping of their scopes;
• Follow-up on classifications used in the creative industries and preparation of the collection of data on international trade in service.

The workshop, which was a follow-up to a forum held last year in Barbados on tourism and the creative industries, was organised by the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD), the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat, and the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO). Representatives from the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and Statistics Canada were also in attendance, contributing to the facilitation of some of the sessions.
Statisticians are observing 2013 as the International Year of Statistics under the theme `Statistics in Everyday Life; Let us Educate and Appreciate’. The over-riding goals of the Year are to: increase public awareness of the power and far-reaching impact of statistics on all aspects of society; promote and nurture statistics as a profession, especially among young people; and promote creativity and development in the sciences of probability and statistics.

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