Tourism Statistics

Q) Discuss the need and importance for tourism statistics ? Explain briefly the various statistical means for assessing and comparing tourism sector data ?

Q) Use of tourism statistics ?

Statistics stands for the science that deals with the methods of collection of data and of the ways of analyzing them and drawing inferences.

Need And Importance of Tourism Statistics

There are 4 main areas where tourism statistics are required

  1. Understanding the perspectives
  2. Development and planning
  3. Evolving marketing strategies
  4. Facilitating investment decisions
1. Understanding the perspectives

In order to have a proper perspective of tourism in relation to any destination, it is necessary to evaluate its magnitude and significance. Magnitude is measured in terms of volume of tourist traffic. Significance is measured in terms of tourism receipts, value added tax revenue, employment etc. Basic measurement of volume is 'tourist visits' or 'tourist arrivals'. It is the total number of tourist arrivals at a given destination over a period of time, say one year.

The second main volume statistics is the 'average length of stay' which is measured in terms of days or nights at the destination. It gives a general indication of the nature of tourist traffic and demand for tourist accommodation. The best indication of magnitude is the total tourist days or nights, which is obtained by multiplying the tourist arrival figures with the average length of stay.

The value of tourism to an economy is mainly reflected in the tourism expenditure at the destination or tourism receipt. It includes purchase of goods and services, purchase of souvenirs and gifts. In the case of international tourists, tourism receipts do not include the payment made in respect of journeys to and from the destination. Whereas the tourism receipt of domestic tourists include the cost of travel to and from the destination as well.

The average expenditure per tourist is obtained by dividing the total tourist expenditure by the number of tourist days or number of arrivals. The global estimates of tourist expenditure provides a general indication of the value of tourism to an economy while the averages provide general indications of the type and quality of traffic to a destination.The statistics of value added tax revenue and employment due to tourism are obtained through industry surveys.

2. Development And Planning

Planning for the development of tourism involves an objective assessment of demand and supply of various tourism products. It is also important to make realistic forecasts of both demand and supply based on past tends and policy guidelines. The demand can be actual or potential. The demand which has already fructified into tourist visits is the actual demand and that which is yet to be fructified is potential demand.

Actual demand statistics, particularly tourist arrivals and tourist nights have to be compiled by type of accommodation, means of transport, places visited and facilities availed to estimate demand on specific tourism products. Potential demand is assessed in terms of travel plans of target populations, positive response to advertisements, levels of awareness etc through market surveys at the source markets.

The most important factor to be considered while planning, is the capacity of a place to absorb tourism. It is assessed through methods like tolerance by host population, satisfaction of visitors, excessive rate of growth or change etc. Such data are usually gathered through special surveys of both the host community and the visitors.

3. Evolving Marketing Strategies

It is a follow-up of development and planning. The preparation of marketing plans involve the collection and analysis of large volumes of data on various aspects including global trends, market segments, tourist profiles, destination features, strength and weakness of products etc.

Global trends can be obtained from publications of agencies like WTO, PATA etc. Domestic tourism trends can be obtained through surveys or periodic statistical reporting systems. The market segmentation analysis involves the segmentation of total volume of tourist visits and nights by country of origin, purpose of visit and psycho-graphic groups.

Psycho-graphic groups include demographic profiles and behavioral patterns. Destination features like, attraction and facilities available and types of tourists visiting along with the strengths and weakness of tourism products offered by a destination or country also need to be assessed for directing product development and marketing policies.

4. Facilitating Investment Decisions

Investment is based on perception of return on investment and pay back periods. The calculation of these parameters with a reasonable degree of accuracy requires statistical data on profitability of existing units, occupancy rates, industry profiles etc. These statistics are usually collected through surveys of existing units.

Statistical Means For Assessing And Comparing Tourism Sector Data


Total count


Averages are of different types namely arithmetic mean, median, mode, geometric mean.

Arithmetic Mean : Total value / Total no.of units

The average duration of stay of tourists at a place, average expenditure per tourist etc are measure using arithmetic mean.

Median : Middle most value when units are arranged in ascending or descending order. Used for measurement of average room tariff and occupancy rates of hotel rooms.

Mode : Most frequently occurring value amongst all values.

Geometric Mean : nth root of the product of all the values of observations.

Harmonic Mean : Reciprocal of the arithmetic mean of the reciprocals of observed values.

Quartiles : 1/4th

Fractiles : 1/10th

The variance and deviations are known as measures of dispersion. You will get a lot of information regarding averages from these.

Range : Difference between largest and smallest value. It is often used in tourism sector to indicate the variation in hotel tariff, expenditure levels and duration of stay of tourists.

Quartile Deviation : (1st quartile - 3rd Quartile) / 2

Mean Deviation : Arithmetic mean of absolute values of deviations of observations from median.

Variance : Sum of the squares of the observed values from arithmetic mean, divided by the total number.

Standard Deviation : Square root of variance.
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