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 (eg what proportion of UK spending goes to each region).
MBIE is satisfied with their overall reliability and validity. 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 cannot provide actual spend figures, as they only represent a proportion of total spend (as they monitor electronic transactions only). Tourism survey data, i.e. the IVS and DTS, 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.
In 2013, the method for calculating the Regional Estimates will be revised to include the latest RTI data so it will then be possible to estimate total spend data for the RTIs. Further improvements to comparing spend across sectors may be possible by incorporating analysis from the Tourism Satellite Account; this will also be explored in 2013.
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 (eg over 10 years, once the series has been available for that long). Using the RTIs for comparisons in relatively short time frames of a few years is less likely to problematic in this sense.