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Spanish Tourism Stats Confusion

By The Equalizer - Wed 5th Jun 2013

A little over a week ago the The Instituto de Estudios Turisticos (National Institute of Tourism) reported how Expenditure by Foreign Visitors was up for the month of April.

Apparently, the amount spent by Tourists was up by a significant amount – both for the Year-on-Year figures and Year-to-Date – when compared to 2012.

Furthermore, the month previously they had also gone one step beyond this and reported the amount spent by Foreign visitors of specific nationalities.

Now, I’m not wishing to accuse the Institute of deluding themselves (and Tour Operators), or that they are looking to instigate some kind of self-fulfilling prophecy, but I have to question this news on 6 levels.

1.) I can’t personally ever recall being asked my nationality when ordering a Cafe-con-leche in a bar (Spanish-owned or otherwise), so how exactly is the Institute of Tourism able to make such an assumption of ‘Spend per Nationality’. Worse still, what has Nationality even got to do with it ? British Nationals resident in one area of Spain might still wish to take a Holiday in a different area.

2.) Even if the Institute does go through the motions in gathering its information from Coastal Bars and Restaurants, to what degree would it be accurate ? These industries have obviously been feeling the pinch in the current financial crisis – Might I be allowed to assume that a certain percentage of takings from such foreign visitors would be ‘in the black’ ?

3.) Surely record expenditure would be reflected in an increase in Employment figures in the services sector ? Sure, it was reported yesterday that the month of May saw some decline in unemployment, but the National Institute of Tourism report was referring to the month April, when unemployment figures remained flat.

4.) Surely an increase in Tourism Expenditure must have been an indirect result of an increase in Foreign Visitor Numbers ? – Yet this was not supported by any statistics by AENA.

5.) I can’t say that I have particularly noticed that April – or the opening months of 2013 – were particularly busy ?

6.) The National Institute of Statistics (INE) reported that Non-Hotel based accommodation in Spain decreased by 18.3% Year-on-Year in April 2013 – so (Assuming that Statistics from both agencies is correct) this must mean that the Extra expenditure seen in Spain for April 2013 came from an increase in Foreign Visitors who either all stayed in Hotel Accommodation, stayed with friends or slept rough.

Aside from which Agency, or set of statistics, to believe it seems like yet a further case of “lies, damned lies and statistics”.

Recommended Reading

Spain : Tourism Expenditure for April 2013
Mr Grumpy V Spain and Statistics
Spain sees food tourism explosion

Comment on this Blog

That's my point Louise - How can 'they' tell who is or is not a Tourist or Resident ? The registered Bank or Address of the small portion of payments made by credit card hardly seems an accurate source of information
Robster - Wed, 10th Jul 2013
The survey isn't monitoring residents Robster. It's a survey about tourist expenditure.
Louise Brace - Wed, 10th Jul 2013
In that case then maybe the INE should have stated that this highly accurate report was based on purchases made by credit card (and therefore presumably over a certain minimum transaction value) - not exactly representative of all expenditure by Tourists.... I am resident in Spain, but still have a UK Credit Card... how would that change things ?
Robster - Tue, 9th Jul 2013
I imagine that the report has been compiled with the help of credit card and travel money exchange companies, to give an indication of where they are spending and yes, what nationalities, it doesn't mention they purchased a cup of coffee or any other product.
Louise Brace - Tue, 25th Jun 2013

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