Country experience: Austria
7.31. In Austria, sample surveys of the population have proved to be the most efficient solution for gathering information on domestic and outbound tourism expenditure. Every quarter, a representative sample of the Austrian population is asked about their travel behaviour with the help of computer-assisted telephone interviews (CATI). In the questionnaire, travel expenses include “all expenses related to the trip”. During the interview, it is clearly stated that goods and services bought in the name of the traveller and made available without compensation (i.e., as a gift or invitation) should also be included (e.g., invitations to dinner, expenditure for goods and services). During the interview, it is also mentioned that imaginary rent for free accommodation should not be included.
7.32. The advantage of CATI is that the spoken text can be standardized and better monitoring of the interviews is possible. Supervisors, interviewer training, pre-tests and interviewing instructions ensure the quality of the interviews. Plausibility checks are integrated to prevent typographical errors and outliers. Warnings are programmed, for example, to pop up during the interview if the stated expenses are below specified expenditure minimums. The warnings give the interviewer the opportunity to mention again that expenditures made on behalf of the respondent must be included. Such consistency checks make sure that typographical errors and outliers are identified (signals) and replaced (hard errors) immediately.