Quality description: Finnish Travel 2016

Relevance of statistical information

The Finnish Travel Survey contains information on trips made by Finnish residents and on the number of persons having travelled during the year. The survey describes trips in Finland and abroad including overnight stay and same-day trips abroad.

The data from the survey are used for monitoring domestic travel and trips abroad made by Finnish residents. The data are intended particularly for the use of central government, tourism enterprises and organisations and researchers. Within central government, the data are mainly used for the balance of payment calculations. The data from the survey are also reported to Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the European Communities in accordance with the Regulation on tourism statistics (EU) No 692/2011.

Statistics Finland collects the data for the statistics with a sample-based telephone interview survey. The survey persons represent the population aged 15 to 84 permanently resident in Finland.

The data are collected on voluntary basis. Survey data on individual persons must be kept confidential by virtue of the Statistics Act (280/2004, Section 12).

The concept of usual environment is essentially connected to the definition of tourism. According to the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), tourism means the activity of persons travelling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year.

Statistics Finland's classifications of municipalities and countries for the statistical reference year are used for classifying destinations of trips.

Methodological description of the survey

The Finnish Travel Survey comprises two parts. The monthly survey collects information on trips made by Finnish residents, their numbers and characteristics. A so-called annual survey is made once a year to establish the number of persons who have travelled during the survey year.

The survey is a sample-based telephone interview survey where computer-assisted interview questionnaires are used. The interviews for the Finnish Travel Survey are conducted centrally from Statistics Finland's computer-assisted telephone interview centre, the CATI Centre. The data are collected between the February of the survey year and the January of the year following the survey year. The interviews are conducted immediately after the end of the month, during two to three weeks.

The data for the annual survey concerning persons having travelled are collected in the January of the year following the survey year. Previously, Statistics Finland's field interviewers conducted the telephone interviews for the annual survey around the country. From the statistical reference year 2012 onwards, the annual part of the survey was combined as part of the monthly interview made at the CATI Centre.

In each partial survey, the population comprises people aged 15 to 84 permanently resident in Finland according to the Population Information System. However, persons permanently living in institutions are excluded from the survey. The samples are drawn with systematic sampling, and they represent the population comprehensively with respect to age, gender, area of residence and native language.

Since 2012, the total annual sample size of the Finnish Travel Survey is approximately 28,200 persons. The data concerning the statistical reference year are obtained with 12 separate samples. From 2012, the sample size is 2,350 persons per month, while before that it was 2,200 persons. The same sample is also used for the data collection of the monthly Consumer Survey. In the interviews, target persons are asked about trips that had ended during the month preceding the interview month.

In connection with the January interviews, questions are also made concerning travelling in the preceding year. In the annual survey the responses to the questions made are of the form yes/no. In the interviews several groups of trips are examined, and the target persons are asked whether they had made trips of that group during the reference year.

The response data are expanded to the whole population with weighting coefficients. From 2012 onwards, the weighting coefficient for each month is expanded to the number of population of the month (preliminary data on population structure). The strata used are the respondent's age group, gender and area of residence (major region). Prior to 2012, only gender was used as the stratum.

Correctness and accuracy of data

The data content of the Finnish Travel Survey was extended particularly in the years 1995 to 1997 to correspond to the requirements of the EU directive on tourism statistics (95/57/EC). In 1996, same-day trips abroad were included in the survey in addition to trips with overnight stay, so in its present extent the survey presents a fairly comprehensive picture of travelling by Finnish residents. Only same-day trips in Finland are still excluded from the survey.

After the questionnaire reform of 2012, the respondent no longer decides the type of trip her/himself, but it is deduced from the responses given. All modes of overnight stays used during a trip are included in the questions, in order to ensure that trips with paid accommodation automatically get grouped correctly. This reduces errors and enables more accurate compilation of statistics.

The non-response rate for the Finnish Travel Survey is on the annual level 48 per cent, on average. Non-response is one of the main sources of errors, as the size of non-response has an immediate effect on the size of the weighting coefficients. The larger the non-response rate, the greater the weighting coefficients.

Random variation caused by sampling is described by means of confidence intervals calculated for the annual estimates of trips and persons having travelled.

Table 1. Confidence Limits of trips by type of trip in year 2016

Type of trip N           Sum         Standard deviation 95% Confidence Limit for Sum
Lower Upper
1,000 trips
Domestic leisure trips with paid accommodation 1,728 6,420 140 6,140 6,700
Domestic leisure trips with free accommodation 5,085 19,510 200 19,130 19,890
Domestic business and professional trips 999 3,860 120 3,640 4,090
Same-day leisure trips abroad (incl. day cruises) 274 980 60 860 1,090
Leisure cruises abroad 309 1,140 60 1,010 1,260
Leisure trips abroad, overnight in country of destination 1,625 6,100 140 5,820 6,380
Business and professional trips abroad 535 21,060 90 1,890 2,230

The results are presented at the accuracy of ten thousand. Prior to 2012, figures below 10,000 were not published, but they were entered as uncertain data. From 2012 to 2015, figures under 50,000 are entered as uncertain data. Starting from 2016, figures under 100,000 are entered as uncertain data.

Timeliness and promptness of published data

Until 2011, data on the numbers of trips were published monthly four to five weeks from the end of the statistical reference month. From 2012 on, the preliminary data are released at four-month intervals four to seven weeks from the end of the period.

Annual data are published on the website of the Finnish Travel Survey three to four months after the end of the year.

Accessibility and transparency/clarity of data

The data are published only on Statistics Finland's website. The annual Finnish Travel publication was produced as a printed copy until the statistical year 2008.

Annual data on trips are available by group of trips and destination area in the database service on the Internet. The time series by group of trips start from 1991 and by destination area from 2000.

Comparability of statistics

The Finnish Travel Survey has been made regularly since 1991. From 1991 to 1994, Statistics Finland produced the Travel Survey on assignment of the Finnish Tourist Board. These years are mutually comparable, because uniform methods were used. In 1995, the survey was transferred completely to Statistics Finland. The content and methodological changes started in the same year had an effect on the comparability of data between 1995 and 1999. The data content and the calculation and data collection methods of the Travel Survey remained unchanged from 2000 to 2009. Due to changes made to the data collection in 2010 and 2012, the figures are not fully comparable with previous years.

Starting from the beginning of 2000, the survey has been made centrally together with the Consumer Survey. Prior to this, the data for the survey were collected in connection with those for Statistics Finland's Labour Force Survey, quarterly between 1996 and 1999 and before that three times a year.

In 2000, the maximum length of a trip changed from 90 to 365 days according to the guidelines of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). The fact that starting from the statistical reference year 2000, target persons have been asked about trips that ended during the survey period instead of trips that started, has also weakened the comparability of the data somewhat.

The data collection was changed in 2010 so that the survey period of the interview month was shortened from two months to one month, that is, the inquiry concerns only trips that ended during the month immediately before the interview month, instead of the two previous months as before. Previously, final data on the numbers of trips in each month were obtained as an average for two samples, after the change, the figures are based on one sample.

From 2012 onwards, the statistics on tourism are compiled in accordance with the Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council (EU) No 692/2011. At the same time, the population was extended from people aged 15 to 74 to those aged 15 to 84, more accurate weighting coefficients were introduced and significant changes were made to the interview questionnaire. On account of the revision, the data are not fully comparable with previous years. The extension of the age group increased the numbers of trips by one to three per cent at the main level. The revision of the weighting coefficients increased the numbers of trips by another one to three per cent at the main level. It is difficult to define the effect of changed questions on the results obtained. The deduction of the type of trip from the responses given (instead of the respondent's own classification) has moved part of the trips to another group. The revised instructions aim to lower the amount of travelling belonging to the usual environment in the statistics.

Data on persons having travelled are comparable between different years. The annual survey on persons having travelled was made in connection with the Labour Force Survey between 1991 and 2011 and after that as annexed to the monthly survey.

Coherence and consistency/uniformity

The Finnish Travel Survey compiles statistics on the demand for tourism. The supply of tourism in Finland is described in Statistics Finland's monthly and annually published Accommodation statistics . They contain data on the accommodation capacity of hotels and its use and overnight stays at accommodation establishments broken down by the travellers' country of residence.

Tourism Satellite Account (TSA) is a statistical system where the economic impacts of tourism are described in a versatile and comprehensive manner. Tourism accounts are published on the webpage of Visit Finland’s Statistics Service Rudolf.

Statistics on passenger transport between Finland and other countries are compiled on sea transport by the Finnish Transport Agency and on air transport by Finavia . However, these statistics do not report the country of residence of the travellers. The Association of Finnish Travel Agents (AFTA) publishes yearly on its website statistics on leisure package tours made by air and their market shares, which provide information about the number of trips bought through travel agencies by country of destination.


Source: Finnish Travel, Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Taru Tamminen 029 551 2243, Teemu Okkonen 029 551 2634, liikenne.matkailu@stat.fi

Director in charge: Sami Saarikivi


Updated 4.10.2017

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Finnish Travel [e-publication].
ISSN=1798-9027. Summer (1.5.-31.8) 2017, Quality description: Finnish Travel 2016 . Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 21.10.2017].
Access method: http://www.stat.fi/til/smat/2017/14/smat_2017_14_2017-10-04_laa_001_en.html

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