Arrivals of Tourists in Cyprus: Mind the Web Search Intensity
This paper validates the raison d’être of the effortlessly recovered web Search Intensity Indices (SII) for predicting the arrivals of tourists in Cyprus. By using monthly data (2004-2015) and two causality testing procedures we find, for properly selected key-phrases, that web search intensity (adjusted for different languages and different search engines) turns out to convey a useful predictive content for the arrivals of tourists in Cyprus. Additionally, we show that whenever the prevailing shares of visitors come from countries in different languages, then the identification of the aggregate SII becomes complex. Hence, we argue that blindly using key-phrases to identify an aggregate SII is like an immersion into the unknown, since two sources of bias (the language bias and the search engine bias) are fully neglected. Given the importance of the tourism sector in the total economy activity of Cyprus, our findings might prove to be quite useful to governmental agencies, policy makers and other stakeholders of the sector when their purpose is to allocate effectively the existing limited resources, and to plan short- and long-run promotion and investment strategies.
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