Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Airport Intercept Program?
The Airport Intercept Program is a public/private partnership between the National Travel & Tourism Office (NTTO) and a specific airport destination whose aim is to survey additional international flights on a monthly basis.  The goal of the program is to improve the quality of collections to ensure a more representative sample is obtained.

What does the Destination/Airport Authority gain by participating in this program?
By participating in this program, the airport/destination will collect a larger and more representative sample of passengers, as well as improve the control over the sample collections. All of the collections obtained from each airport will be combined and used in the national data NTTO releases on international travel to and from the USA. Combined in-flight and airport supplements will result in better representative sample of passengers at the airport, improving all of the estimates provided. The combined sample survey data (national and supplemental) will be weighted to the 100% country-of-residence and port-of-entry travel population figures from the DHS I-94 system. The weighting assists to ensure the sample collected better matches the count of visitors to the United States. Depending on the agreement, NTTO may be able to provide a complimentary annual (calendar year) custom report on passengers who travel to or through the airport and who visit the city or state. Other NTTO data and analysis may also be provided in return for the airport authority’s assistance.

What are the responsibilities of NTTO?
NTTO will provide each partner a list of flights to target each month, as well as questionnaires and pencils to be distributed to departing passengers in the appropriate language mix. There are twelve language versions available. We ask that you use the questionnaire as is without supplement. NTTO, through its contractor, also provides prepaid, pre-addressed shipping labels and shipping bags for the return shipment, in addition to tally sheet for each flight we request be surveyed. Additional support, as needed, to ensure this program is a success will be provided by NTTO and/or its contractor.

What are the responsibilities of the destination or airport authority in this program?
Distribute the surveys to both US citizens and non-resident international air passengers at the gate and promptly return them to NTTO’s contractor using prepaid, pre-addressed shipping labels and shipping bags provided. The survey team used will utilize the sample frame provided to them each month. The sample frame will include a list of flights to survey by airline and city pair. Additionally, to secure a survey team, please see Boarding Area Procedures.

How do we determine which flights to survey?
The goal would be to survey a specific set of city pairs to obtain a representative sample of departing flights from the airport. A rotation would be developed by the NTTO contractor. NTTO uses a combination of historical data and the current Official Airline Guide flight schedules to select the targeted city pairs to be surveyed. The survey team has the flexibility to select from the list of flights as long as it follows the targets set for each city pair each month. Please see Boarding Area Procedures.

What would the typical day look like for a field representative?
On the day of the survey, the field representative will clear security and go the departure gate for the selected airline flight. There, he or she will confirm with the agent and ask the passengers in the gate area if they are planning to board the specified flight. The survey team will ask the potential respondent if he or she would like to participate in an anonymous self-administered survey for the U.S. Department of Commerce. Typically, at first boarding call the field rep will collect all survey materials and leave the area, so that no disruption of the airline boarding process takes place. Immediately after each flight the field rep will complete a tally sheet showing number of questionnaires distributed, returned and completed. This tally sheet also asks the field representative to list any problems encountered, including refusals. Tally sheets will be provided by NTTO’s contractor. On average, the airport intercept teams obtain 15-18 completed surveys per flight surveyed.

What do we do with the completed surveys?
Once all surveys are completed for that month the field service will ship the surveys and tally sheets back to CIC Research (NTTO’s contractor for this program) using prepaid, pre-addressed shipping labels and shipping bags provided to you. In order to ensure timely collection and dissemination of data, at the end of the month the surveys need to be shipped back to CIC Research within two days after surveys are administered and collected.

Do you have other questions?
Please contact either of the NTTO staff listed below:

Ron Erdmann
Deputy Director
Office of Travel & Tourism Industries
(202) 482-4554
Email: ron.erdmann@trade.gov

Richard Champley
Senior Research Analyst & Program Manager
Office of Travel & Tourism Industries
(202) 482-4753
Email: Richard.champley@trade.gov

Where we can we find out more information?
To find out more about the program, go to: https://travel.trade.gov/research/programs/ifs/index.html

To see the national level results of the survey, go to: https://travel.trade.gov/outreachpages/inbound.general_information.inbound_overview.html

To see world regional and country specific estimates that include destinations visited, if sample sizes allow, go to: https://travel.trade.gov/outreachpages/index.html#inbound