9502.0.55.001 - Framework for Australian Tourism Statistics, 1999  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 02/12/1999   
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Contents >> Chapter 1. The conceptual framework >> The framework elements

28. As discussed earlier, whether an activity is 'tourism' depends on whether the consumer involved in the activity is a visitor (or someone purchasing the commodity on behalf of a visitor). A tourism activity involves the acquisition or use of a commodity (ie. a good or service) for final consumption either by the visitor him/herself or on behalf of the visitor. Each such activity is referred to as an event, or in economic terms, a transaction.

29. The event, which is the core of the Framework, comprises three essential elements:

      • the visitor undertaking the activity or transaction - referred to as the CONSUMER;
      • the commodity involved in the activity - referred to as the PRODUCT; and
      • the body supplying either the commodity or the environment in which the event takes place - referred to as the SUPPLIER.

30. While the terminology used suggests an economic interest, the model can apply to events which might not be considered to be commercial transactions. For example, the use of a mountain lookout to enjoy the scenery, or of a public beach might not involve the payment of a fee by the visitor to a supplier. However, the construction and maintenance of the lookout and the cleaning and provision of access to the beach involves a cost which must be covered by some indirect funding source. The underlying principle of the model is that for an activity to be considered an event, the three essential elements must be involved. While in some cases it may be difficult to identify the PRODUCT and/or the SUPPLIER involved, for most statistical purposes these are generally clear.

31. The linkage between the three elements is a linear one with a strict hierarchical order, taking the form:
        CONSUMER ------> PRODUCT ------> SUPPLIER

32. The order of the elements is important. The CONSUMER is the principal and independent element in the event. Whether a PRODUCT qualifies for inclusion depends entirely on whether the CONSUMER qualifies for inclusion, i.e. is a visitor. Similarly, whether a SUPPLIER qualifies for inclusion depends on whether the PRODUCT, and ultimately the CONSUMER, qualifies for inclusion. It is not the nature of the PRODUCT nor the type of activity of the SUPPLIER which is the criterion for the inclusion or exclusion of any particular PRODUCT or SUPPLIER in a tourism event. The sole criterion is the nature of the CONSUMER.

33. This approach recognises that tourism statistics can be collected from the demand (CONSUMER) side or from the supply (SUPPLIER) side. However, as the SUPPLIER is a dependent element whose relevance for inclusion is conditional on the status of the CONSUMER, there is an extra complexity involved in collecting data from the SUPPLIER. Where a supplier's products are consumed by both visitors and residents, as is usually the case, only consumption by visitors is relevant to tourism, i.e. only a part of a supplier's output should be included in the statistics. This usually requires an estimate to be made, as the proportion which this part represents of total output is rarely known. At the national level the only industry sectors in which visitors might consume close to 100% of output are short-term accommodation, long-distance passenger transport and travel agencies. However, for other industry sectors, the output of enterprises which are located in tourist areas may approach this level. In general, the proportion of a supplier's output which is consumed by visitors depends on the type of product, the location of the supplier and the time of the year (i.e. during or out of the tourist season).

34. In this model the CONSUMER must always be considered to be the visitor. The visitor may not necessarily be the final consumer but may be making a purchase as a gift for someone else. Also, the purchase does not necessarily have to be undertaken or funded by the visitor him/herself. That is, an event is 'tourism' if either:
      • the final consumer of the commodity is a visitor, whether the purchase for final consumption is made by the visitor or by someone else (e.g. purchase of a travel ticket by an employer); or
      • the purchase of the commodity is made by the visitor for final consumption by someone else (e.g. purchase of gifts for friends or hosts).

35. The underlying principle is that the acquisition of the commodity for ultimate consumption must be by or on behalf of a visitor.

36. The issue of who is the SUPPLIER is somewhat more complex. The UNSO recommends that:
      "....expenditure [by the CONSUMER] should be considered to take place at the moment that goods or services are purchased by the visitors, that is, when they acquire legal title to the goods or, in the absence of such a title, when they receive the service."

This suggests that the SUPPLIER would be the person from whom legal title to the goods is transferred, or from whom the service is obtained, i.e. the direct supplier. So, for example, where a visitor stays in a hotel, the operator of the hotel is the SUPPLIER, rather than the business supplying the food eaten in the hotel restaurant or cleaning the linen.

37. For some research purposes (e.g. an assessment of the total effect of tourism demand on economic activity), tourism may be regarded as involving an indirect supplier of a commodity whose final consumption will result from the activity of a visitor, i.e. a supplier further back in the supply chain who does not directly supply the visitor. The construction of an accommodation establishment, or the manufacture of a souvenir, would be examples of this type of activity. While this Framework focuses on the event involving the direct supplier and the visitor, the model used could easily be extended to incorporate the indirect supply of commodities to visitors.

38. When goods are purchased by a visitor from a retailer, the SUPPLIER is the retailer, rather than the manufacturer or any other enterprise in the distribution chain. Where agents, such as travel and booking agents, are involved the transaction could be seen as involving two separate PRODUCTS:
      • the transport, accommodation or whatever service is being purchased; and
      • the service provided by the agent in facilitating the purchase. In practice, however, it is often difficult or impossible to make this distinction and, for statistical purposes, the agent is treated in the same way as a retailer.

39. Tourism statistics usually attempt to count, measure or describe some aspect of the event. This involves either:
      • a relationship between two of the three elements of the event (such as expenditure by overnight domestic visitors on hotel accommodation); or
      • describing some aspect or characteristic of one of the elements (such as the age distribution of international visitors)

40. Reflecting these 'horizontal' and 'vertical' requirements, the Framework model comprises two broad components:
      • the three elements of the event - the CONSUMER, PRODUCT and SUPPLIER - and definitions and classification systems for their components; and
      • the 'Typical Measures' relating to each of these elements, and their definitions and classifications.

41. The Figure below illustrates the Framework model diagrammatically. It shows, for each of the three elements, the top level classification of the components of the element.

42. Having identified the Framework model in this section, Chapter 2 deals with the definitions and classifications relating to the components of the three elements of the event. Chapter 3 deals with the 'Typical Measures' relating to each of the elements, and provides classifications and definitions for these where relevant.


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