Regional Tourism Indicator data validation

We investigated the Regional Tourism Indicators data to determine the validity of using it to help answer questions about tourism expenditure at a regional level.

The validation process

Data validation compares the trends in the Regional Tourism Indicators (RTIs) with other tourism data sources to investigate the integrity of the data. The validation work concluded that the RTIs in their current state can be used with confidence to measure change over time in expenditure activity; and origin-based market share - for example, what proportion of UK spending goes to each region.

See the validation report for more information.

Data Validation for the Regional Tourism Indicators [PDF, 1.1 MB](external link)

Validation outcome

We are satisfied with the overall reliability and validity of the RTIs. For reporting on ANZSIC or regional disaggregation they are far superior to survey methods, and discrepancies between the RTIs and the surveys are nearly all explained by random chance in survey sampling. In other words, for the purpose they were designed for, the RTIs are far superior to the IVS and the DTS.

However, the RTIs by themselves can't provide actual spend figures, as they only represent a proportion of total spend (since they monitor electronic transactions only). Tourism survey data, such as the International Visitor Survey, is designed to estimate aggregate spend figures (by visitor market in the case of international data), and the current Regional Estimates methodology applies these figures across regions.

Vulnerability of the RTIs

Finally, the key vulnerability of the RTIs is to consumers’ changing payment behaviour over time. This might present challenges to using the RTIs to show long-term strategic change — for example, over 10 years, once the series has been available for that long. Using the RTIs for comparisons in relatively short timeframes of a few years is less likely to be problematic in this sense.