No. 761 - How can Big Data improve the quality of tourism statistics?The Bank of Italy's experience in compiling the "travel" item in the Balance of Payments

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by Andrea Carboni, Costanza Catalano and Claudio DoriaApril 2023

In tourism statistics, the search for data sources that are more timely and cheaper than traditional sample surveys is becoming increasingly important. This paper examines the contribution that mobile phone data (MPD), electronic payments and internet searches (Google Trends) can make to the compilation of the 'travel' item of the balance of payments.

Mobile phone data improve estimates of the number of international travellers, although constant interaction with the data provider is required for their use. Google Trends data can also supplement traveller estimates, but become unreliable in the case of exceptional events (such as a pandemic). Data on electronic payments, which have many limitations, can only be used for a more timely, albeit imprecise, estimate of the provisional data.

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