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An information service from Tourism Industries
Counting International Visitors to Your Destination - Tourism Industries, Destination Data Improvement Initiative.
This is the first "call to arms" and introduction to the U.S. Department of Commerce, Tourism Industries office proposal to identify ways to improve volume data (or visitation estimates) for international travelers to U.S. destinations by country of residence in an accurate, consistent, timely and comprehensive process.
Over the past several years Tourism Industries has worked with regional tourism organizations, state tourism offices and city convention and visitors bureaus and trade associations to find ways to improve upon the existing collection system for international visitor destination data. Together we have experienced some successes as well as some disappointments. It is time to open the door for even more options by evaluating the needs and alternatives.
We understand the overriding need to meet the growing importance of providing accurate information on the number of international travelers visiting a destination. The primary source of our past work has been the In-Flight Survey of International Air Travelers. This is a unique and complex program that partners with most of the domestic and many of the foreign air carriers for administering the survey. It's important to note that the In-Flight Survey was originally, and still is, designed to capture primarily national level statistics for export and import flows of revenues for the country's balance of trade. It also was developed to provide trends in traveler characteristics to guide industry in their policy and marketing decisions. Now, with dramatically increased investments by state and local destinations, industry and trade associations into the international marketplace, this Survey has been resourced to provide the "count" of international visitors to the states and local destinations, in part to justify the return on these investments. To ask for this exacting multi-level destination visitor data totals and by country segments is a stretch to the Survey's current statistical reliability capabilities given the present funding, sample sizes, and industry cooperation.
This dilemma has motivated the launching of the Destination Data Improvement Initiative. This fiscal year we are stepping up to the plate and funding a formal effort to investigate and propose viable alternatives to getting the "counts" you demand. TI has developed a paper that describes this Initiative. Please read it. Give us your reactions, your suggestions or comments to our plan. A statement of work (request for proposal) will be put out next month to solicit the entity which will evaluate, investigate and provide recommendations after working with you and other members of our customer base. Be ready to respond when the call comes. If you have a specific individual in your office other than yourself who should serve as the contact person for this Initiative, then tell us. Later this month we will create a special section on our website for your input and guidance and will put a copy of this Initiative on the site as well.
We have heard your voices loud and clear. Now we need your involvement to be part of the solution. Watch for future e-mails and/or TInews announcements on this vital Initiative. We're on a fast-track to see if we can resolve this sooner than later. Of course, the more support we obtain from the industry, the sooner we can resolve this issue.
To access a copy of the Tourism Industries Destination Data Improvement
Initiative, please visit our web site and download it at:
Please pass it on to your constituency, and most of all decide how your business, association, destination, office or programs will get involved. Together, we can find the solution.
Thanks in advance for your cooperation and partnership. We look forward to working with you to obtain the data we all need.
Helen N. Marano
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Tourism Industries, International Trade Administration U.S. Department of Commerce, Room 1860 Washington, D.C. 20230 (202) 482-0140, fax: (202) 482-2887 e-mail: email@example.com
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