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Macedonia: tourism time series plots

In this blog post graphic methods are used to describe tourism time series in Macedonia.

Two types of a line graph could be used to show changes in tourist demand over time. The first displays all three time series (total, domestic and foreign tourists) on a single graph. This graph shows the relative position of time series to each other. However, if the time series levels are disproportional in size then on this graph is difficult to spot patterns in time series.

The second graph displays each series on a separate panel. On such graph any persistent pattern related to trend or seasonal factors should be clearly visible.  Figure 1 shows line graphs of tourists arrival and overnight stay in Macedonia.

Macedonia tourism time series (same panel)
Figure 1. Macedonia tourism time series (same panel)

From Figure 1 is quite clear that the domestic tourists made a major contribution to total tourists arrival (particularly before 2010) and overnight stay. However, since 2013 the foreign tourists arrival matches in size the domestic tourists arrival. While both total and domestic tourists arrival series show quite similar seasonal patterns, this pattern is not clear for the foreign tourists arrival series because the level of this series is much lower than the levels of the remaining two series on this graph, at least before 2013. Also it is difficult to state any definitive conclusion about the nature of the trend components in these series, thought it looks like there is a significant and steady increase in level of the foreign tourists arrival time series.

Figure 2 shows each tourism time series in Macedonia on separate panels.

Macedonia tourism time series (separate panels)
Figure 2. Macedonia tourism time series (separate panels)

On the graphs in Figure 2 we can see clearly the differences in seasonal patterns between these series. After 2015 we can see that the pattern in the total tourists arrival changed because of the increasing number of foreign tourists arrival. At the same time there were no changes in the domestic tourists arrival time series pattern. These differences will be further examine on the seasonal plots. The situation with the overnight stay time series is a bit different. The domestic tourists overnight stay is 3-5 times larger than in case of foreign tourists and therefore the domestic overnight stay time series dominates in the total tourists overnight stay time series and they show similar patterns.

Trends, as another feature of domestic and foreign tourists arrival and overnight stay series are quite different. While the domestic tourists time series display some variations around constant level, total and foreign tourists time series show an increasing trend in the whole period. These differences between time series will be further examine after decomposing time series into trend, seasonal and residual series.

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Zlatko Kovacic
Director of Wellington based My Statistical Consultant Ltd company. Retired Associate Professor in Statistics. Has a PhD in Statistics and over 35 years experience as a university professor, international researcher and government consultant.