National Statistics Officials stationed at MIA

Finance Minister Prof. Edward Scicluna paid a visit to National Statistics Office (NSO) officials stationed within the Malta International Airport.

The visit coincided with the launch of new uniforms be worn by NSO officials responsible for carrying out airport survey interviews as part of ongoing survey among departing passengers at the Malta International Airport. This statistical exercise is known as the TOURSTAT survey.

Since mid-2001, in the run-up to Malta’s accession to the European Union, the TOURSTAT survey has been the National Statistics Office’s source for the collection of tourism statistics. TOURSTAT introduces concepts and definitions that are harmonised among EU countries. The information from this survey, therefore, is comparable across all EU Member States.

In a brief address Minister for Finance Prof. Edward Scicluna noted that previously, tourism statistics were compiled from disembarkation cards which foreign nationals completed on arrival and referred to the local context only.

This, he said, gave no scope for international comparisons and therefore resulted in a more bureaucratic system. He continued by saying that the country’s GDP depends largely on the information collected, since estimates are done on how much tourists spend, meaning that the utilisation of proper and accurate survey techniques is essential.

To ensure the best possible results, the NSO calibrates survey findings by using administrative data obtained from the MIA and the operators of sea passenger transport. The NSO also undertakes regular quality and consistency checks to minimise survey bias and to produce reliable data that project a true image of the tourism industry in Malta.

NSO Director General Mr. Pace Ross noted that one out of every twenty tourists are surveyed every day. The data collected in the survey include: information on tourist markets; type of stay; purpose, frequency and duration of visit; tourist expenditure; and demographics, among others.

MSA’s Chairperson Prof. Albert Leone Ganado also added that another such office will be established in Gozo.

Prof. Scicluna concluded by thanking Mr. Michael Pace Ross and Prof. Albert Leone Ganado for this initiative.

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– Thursday, 20th March, 2014


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