In tourism, studies of convenience are so common that we seem to not really pay attention to them. However, these ordinary tricks discredit the sector and cloud it in order to better benefit its sponsors and its authors, to the detriment of third parties and the collective interest.

What are studies of convenience? 
The study of convenience is quite simply a dependent, oriented dossier, the content of which is deliberately false. Complacency is the disposition to conform to the tastes and feelings of others in order to be agreeable to him, to be of service to him. In short, it’s a gift. But not free. The act is more or less expensive sold by the one who commits it and well paid by the one who orders it, with the key to a nice expected return on investment.

For what purposes? 
The complacency report is most often in the form of a market study, a white paper, a feasibility or impact study, a survey, an article or a expertise. They all have the same purpose: to influence, convince and deceive the interlocutors for whom they are made. We are here in the field of private or corporate interest to the detriment of the collective interest. Of course, in a healthy situation, there would be no need for biased studies. It is therefore when there are things to hide or when a situation is unfavorable that we cheat.  

Their purpose can be:

  • to support the merits of a project to persuade investors, partners or banks to finance it,
  • influence the public authorities to obtain subsidies or administrative authorizations, or any other decision-maker,
  • to arouse the interest of the press and the media, in order to benefit from advantageous articles and reports,
  • to denounce or orient a regulation, a law, to favor a corporation, a branch of activity, an economic sector,
  • etc.

How does he present himself?
The report of convenience looks like any record or document that it mimics to perfection when done well. Except that its content is false, in whole and especially in part. Because most of the time, subtle, the study of convenience mixes the counterfeit and the invented with the true, to give it more credibility and to muddy the waters. He is in the upper sphere of manipulative art. To talk about a subject or a project, we erase the negative points or minimize them. Or on the contrary, we load the context negatively if it is in the interest of the sponsor of the study of convenience. All kinds of means are good to make believe that what one says is true: false polls, smoky equations, statistics taken out of the hat, peremptory affirmations, untruths … of the classic, in short, that every apprentice propagandist already masters perfectly. And the bigger it is, the more it passes. The stake is of course that the reader or readers of the file thus falsified do not realize the work of forger which was produced. In short, this type of deception is a bit disloyal, insincere, not to say dishonest. And that does not prevent a good number of journalists from taking them as the sources of their articles, without complaining. Provided that the subject marks the spirits. And that does not prevent a good number of journalists from taking them as the sources of their articles, without complaining. Provided that the subject marks the spirits. And that does not prevent a good number of journalists from taking them as the sources of their articles, without complaining. Provided that the subject marks the spirits.

Who controls them? 
In tourism, as elsewhere, the range of sponsors of convenience studies is very wide. This goes from the simple individual carrying a modest project wishing to coax his banker, to the real estate developer to smoke up the investors, passing by large groups, lobbies or unions ( see for example the file ordered by the club of large tourism groups, Alliance 46.2, on the tourist tax in hotels). But we also find among the applicants elected officials and communities wishing to justify disputed investments or costly urban planning operations. We even observe the fraud at the highest level by successive governments with our famous statistics on tourism too good to be true for many years ( see our article ). We are even entitled to doubt the accuracy of those of the OMT, which has interests to serve.  

Who make them? 
Specialists in this kind of work are legion: research firms, lobbyists, experts, consultants, pollsters and other specialists. They can moreover carry out this type of “borderline” work – which can represent up to 50% of their turnover – and at the same time act normally, with professionalism and uprightness on other files. When Doctor Jekyll is around, Mister Hyde is never far away. The challenge is precisely to call on a recognized specialist, who is well established. Because we regularly like to confuse notoriety and good image. The interested sponsor with a corrupter’s headdress thinks that a known signature will lull the ambient mistrust and give credibility to his file. It only remains for him to find his accomplice who is finally quite easily at hand.   

A common phenomenon? 
A real nuisance for the economy, it is estimated that nearly 1/3 of reports in tourism are more or less studies of convenience and almost 2/3 of market studies presented by real estate developers. As for the economic barometers produced by research firms, the majority are a deception serving the interests of tourism or hotel groups, or only to make people talk about themselves.

Is it illegal? 
Yes, if they are forged documents and forged use to obtain public or private benefits or funding. In fact, when a study of convenience is discovered, it does not go any further. It is therefore a market that can pay off big, without real risk.

How to detect a study or a case of convenience? 
Most of the time, it is by knowing well the subject to which the document erected in trompe-l’oeil relates that one can identify inconsistencies, invented data, questionable approximations or even manipulations. This is the reason why, by dint of being surrounded, more and more large financial companies and large investors are ordering second opinions from honest professionals in order to validate or not the business plans submitted by project leaders. It is then easy to identify lies and disloyalty.

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