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Discussions and Issues Related to Estimation Method of "Travel"

September 2006
Maiko Wada*1

Click on wp06e13.pdf to download the full text.


  • "Travel" in Japan's balance of payments statistics is currently compiled in accordance with the definitions stipulated by the IMF Balance of Payments Manual, fifth edition(BPM5), which is the international guideline for compiling the balance of payments statistics. Specifically, expenditures of travelers are estimated based on instruments of payment used by them1. This current method presents several problems. First, expenditures that should be recorded under other components in the balance of payments statistics are being increased. Second, a small amount of expenditures are not covered. Third, although the review of BPM5 under discussion requires Japan's current data collecting method to be changed, Japan will not be able to cope with the revision that may emerge from this review.
  • A possible solution to these problems would be to directly estimate the expenditures of travelers based on a questionnaire survey concerning travel expenditures (expenditure approach). Such an approach can be expected to improve the accuracy of data. Moreover, it will enable statistics compilers in Japan (including the Bank of Japan) to further expand source data and improve the estimation method, as the medium- to long-term challenge.
  • This paper aims to overview the current situation in the field of "travel" data, and to introduce the idea of new estimation method based on the expenditure approach. It also hopes discussions among researchers and statistics users for improving "travel" in the balance of payments statistics.
  1. This paper is based on the estimation method as of 22 June 2006, when the Japanese version of this paper was released. The current estimation method of "travel" was revised beginning with figures released in July 2006. For details, refer to "Change in the Method for Compiling "Travel" in the Balance of Payments Statistics," which was posted on the Bank's website on July 4 2006.

I would like to express my thanks to Mr. Tetsuma Arita (Japan Center for International Finance) and Ms. Misuzu Ohana (International Department, Bank of Japan <hereinafter, the bank>) for their assistance in the estimation work of this paper. I would also like to express thanks to my colleagues at the Bank's International Department and Research and Statistics Department for their helpful comments. Views expressed in this paper are, however, solely those of the author and not those of the Bank, the International Department, or the Research and Statistics Department.

  • *1International Department


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