Working at a national magazine in Washington, D.C., I'm continually boggled by the sheer lack of necessary information.
One would think that if you could think of a reasonable question — for example, how many Americans left the country during or around the Thanksgiving holiday for the purposes of leisure travel between 2000 and 2003? —someone, somewhere would be privy to that information.
I call someone and ask them. They don’t know. I ask them who might. They give me phone numbers.
Nearly an entire work day goes by and I eventually make a circle of phone call referrals that leaves me back with the first incompetent organization, which only keeps records from 2001 — not 2000, for some reason, and certainly not anything more recent than 2001.
I’m sure it would take quite a bit of research to find something like that — certainly something beyond the means of the average person. But when your organization is called the Bureau of Transportation Statistics or the American Society of Travel Agents or the United States Department of Travel and Tourism, one should expect that you or someone you know might have some inkling as to what these numbers might be.