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Google Trends help predict tourism to Bahamas, IMF study shows

On-line searches can assist international locations predict vacationer visits extra precisely and provides governments a greater learn on economies that rely on the trade, an Worldwide Financial Fund evaluation confirmed.

Combining Google Developments knowledge with conventional forecast fashions improved accuracy of predicted vacationer arrivals to the Bahamas from the US by about 30%, in accordance with a working paper by IMF senior economist Serhan Cevik launched on Jan 31.

“As tourism is the principle engine of financial progress within the Bahamas, correct forecasting of vacationer arrivals is crucial for knowledgeable decision-making by coverage makers and companies,” Cevik wrote, including that the findings, according to earlier research, point out search knowledge can help real-time surveillance and sharpen forecasts. Search knowledge can assist the trade higher plan and make investments, he mentioned.

Enhancing estimates would assist tourism-dependent economies like these throughout the Caribbean, the place the trade employs hundreds of thousands and generates billions of {dollars} in exports, Cevik wrote. The Bahamas is “extraordinarily depending on fast-growing tourism”, which contributes about 48% of gross home product and 56% of employment, he mentioned.

The examine tracked Google queries from January 2004 to December 2018 for search phrases together with Bahamas together with phrases like journey, seaside, lodges, resorts and flights.

Vacationer arrivals to the Bahamas rose 9.8% over a decade to greater than 6.5 million visits in 2018, with about four-fifths of these coming from the US. That already outsize position is poised to broaden even additional. The World Journey and Tourism Council tasks tourism’s share of of GDP might attain 60% by 2030, and 70% of the workforce, in accordance with the paper. That giant footprint makes higher forecasting all that rather more crucial for coverage makers, Cevik mentioned.

“Whereas the tourism sector makes a major contribution to the financial system, it’s also a significant supply of volatility as a result of better publicity to exterior components,” Cevik wrote. “Due to this fact, bettering the prediction of vacationer arrivals is necessary for forecasting general financial progress in addition to for efficient planning and budgeting by the federal government and the personal sector.” – Bloomberg

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