Tracking Falkland Islands Tourism

Tracking Falkland Islands Tourism

Over the last month we’ve been working with the Falkland Islands Tourist Board (FITB) to get their 2012 Tourism Statistics finalised. The great news for the Falklands is that it has turned out to be their best year ever! More tourists visited the Falklands in 2012 than any year before.

http://en.mercopress.com/2013/05/21/falkland-islands-tourism-industry-keeps-growing-despite-a-drop-in-cruise-visitors

We are delighted that the FITB uses T-Stats to track tourism, as it makes compiling the data very easy, and allows everyone in the Islands who is interested in tourism to track the sector as the year progresses.

Anyway, we decided to celebrate this record breaking year by creating an infographic for the FITB.

Falkland Islands tourism infographic 2012

Falkland Islands tourism infographic 2012 by T-Stats

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Indirect Impacts of Tourism

This week I’m in Jordan.  Tourism is an important sector here, and there is a feeling that things are quite fragile.  With the situation across the border in Syria getting worse…and likely to continue to get worse before it gets better…there is genuine concern that the tourism sector in Jordan will be seriously affected.

Over the last 12 months we’ve spent a lot of time looking at the tourism statistics coming out of the Inbound and Domestic Tourism Surveys, and towards the end of last year developed a Tourism Satellite Account for Jordan, which for the first time measured the direct impact of tourism on the economy (over £1 billion).

However, the direct impact only tells part of the story, and all too often the indirect impact of tourism is ignored.

The direct impacts of tourism refer to the expenditure of tourists on goods and services in a country.  However, the impact of tourists does not end there.  There is also an indirect impact on the economy.  This happens when businesses that provide goods and services to tourists then make purchases from other businesses.

Take, as an example, a tourist who spends JD 100 on a hotel room for the night.  This can be considered the direct impact of tourism.  However, the hotel needs to service that tourist.  The sheets on the bed need to be cleaned, and this might be done by a laundry company.  The tourist has a meal in the hotel.  To prepare this meal the hotel needs to buy meat and vegetables from a local supplier.  These purchases from the laundry and the food supplier would not have taken place without the initial direct expenditure by the tourist, and are the indirect impacts.

We’ve developed an Input-Output model to measure these impacts, and found them to be 57% of the direct impacts, thereby increasing the value added of tourism by 57% to around £1.6 billion.

In many countries with strong economies, the indirect impacts of tourism exceed the direct impacts (in Australia the indirect impacts are twice the size of the direct impacts).

Just a reminder that tourism is often so much more important to the national (and regional) economies that it appears from the basic expenditure statistics.

The Problem of accommodation occupancy data

Collecting accommodation occupancy data can be a real struggle.  Whilst compiling really useful data doesn’t require much information from hotels and similar establishments, actually getting this data from them is a real struggle.  It seems to be a combination of “one more thing to do”, “I keep forgetting”, “I’m not telling you that”, and “what about the VAT man?”.

However, we started collecting accommodation statistics in the Falkland Islands at the beginning of 2013, and now, as we reach April, over 90% of the accommodation stock is reporting.

How did we do it?

Well I think there are two reasons for this success…

1. Each month we contact every accommodation establishment personally, by email, to ask for their data – and we have kept it simple.  Just the number of rooms sold each month.

2. The Falklands is a relatively small place, and there’s a sense of community.  I think that this encourages many of the people running hotels, guest houses, etc, to report.

We are about to undertake a similar exercise in three small towns in Denmark.  Using the same principles, it will be interesting to see how well it works there.