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Overseas Arrivals and Departures
 
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    NAME OF ORGANISATION
    Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)

    OVERVIEW
    Overseas Arrivals and Departures statistics are compiled from information entered on incoming and outgoing passenger cards, visa and other information available to the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs (DIMA). Detailed electronic unit record data is available from July 1975.

    PURPOSE
    Overseas arrivals and departures data are mainly used to compile statistics on Australia's population, balance of payments, and international tourism.

    Population estimates are used by Governments in policy formulation, particularly those policies relating to service delivery. Estimates are also used to monitor existing Government programs. Population estimates are used in determining the number of seats in each State/Territory in the House of Representatives (Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918). They are also used in the allocation of Commonwealth funds for general financial assistance and hospital funding purposes, both for State/Territory governments (A New Tax System (Commonwealth-State Financial Arrangements) Act 1999 and Medicare agreements) and local governments (Local Government (Financial Assistance) Act 1995).


    Overseas arrivals and departures data are an important source of data for Australia's balance of payments transactions. In 1995-96, the value of transactions calculated using overseas arrivals and departures data represented about 13 per cent of all credits and 7 per cent of all debits in Australia's current account. Travel services made up the majority of these transactions (broken down into Students' expenditure and Other). Per capita expenditure figures for these calculations are taken from the International Visitors Survey conducted by the Bureau of Tourism Research and the Survey of Returned Australian Travellers conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). Passenger cards are essential for the Survey of Returned Australian Travellers as they provide the sample for the survey. Overseas arrivals and departures data are also used to calculate Income credits and debits, particularly Labour income (Earnings in Australia and earnings abroad), and Unrequited transfers credits and debits (particularly Migrants' transfers and Miscellaneous transfers). In addition overseas arrivals and departures data are indirectly used as input to other balance of payments calculations.

    International tourism in Australia is currently experiencing rapid growth. Overseas arrivals and departures data are required by Governments to examine the impacts of tourism on policy issues such as infrastructure and the labour market, monitoring and analysing tourism trends for tourism marketing strategies and establishing future directions. Providers of services such as airlines and other transport groups, tourist attractions, hotel groups and tourism retailers are major users of overseas arrivals and departures data which are required, with other sources of data, for market research.

    SCOPE
    Movements of travellers into and out of Australia (i.e. multiple movements of an individual during a given reference period are each counted separately). The statistics exclude the movements of operational air and ships' crew, transit passengers who pass through Australia but are not cleared for entry and passengers on pleasure cruises commencing and finishing in Australia aboard ships not then engaged on regular voyages.

    DATA DETAIL

    Conceptual framework
    Movements of travellers in and out of Australia.
    For more information see Demographic Estimates and Projections (ABS Cat. No. 3228.0); Concepts, Sources and Methods and Demography Working Paper 2001/7 - Statistical Requirements for Overseas Arrivals and Departures Data at September 2001

    Main outputs
    Unit record file, containing the following variables:

    • Citizenship (Nationality)
    • Country of birth
    • Age (Date of birth)
    • Sex
    • Marital status (not available for Australia or New Zealand citizens)
    • Category of travel
    • Permanent migrant
      • Previous/future country of residence
      • State of intended address/lived
    • Overseas visitor
      • Intended/actual length of stay
      • Main reason for journey
      • Country of residence
      • State or territory of intended address on arrival
      • State or territory in which most time spent on departure
    • Australian residents
      • Intended/actual length of stay overseas
      • Country spent/intend to spend most time abroad
      • State or Territory of intended address/State or Territory lived
    • Occupation (not available for short-term movements)
    • Country of embarkation/disembarkation
    • Airport/Port of arrival/departure
    • Arrival/departure date (as month)
    • Intention to live in Australia for next 12 months (not available for short-term movements)

    Classifications
    Occupation - ABS Demography classification for Occupation prior to 1980, when an Immigration classification was introduced.
    Australian Standard Classification of Occupation (ASCO) 1st edition introduced in July 1990, until replaced by ASCO 2nd edition in July 1997.
    Country - ABS Demography classification for all country fields prior to January 1991. From January 1991 replaced by Australian Standard Classification of Countries for Social Statistics (ASCCSS). From August 2004 replaced by Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC) (cat. no. 1269.0).
    Port of clearance, Category of traveller, marital status, sex, age, reason for journey, duration of stay, state, mode of transport.

    Other concepts (summary)
    n.a.

    GEOGRAPHIC DETAIL
    Australia
    New South Wales
    Victoria
    Queensland
    South Australia
    Western Australia
    Tasmania
    Northern Territory
    ACT

    Comments and/or Other Regions


    COLLECTION FREQUENCY
    Monthly

    Frequency comments
    n.a

    COLLECTION HISTORY

    July 1975 -

      electronic unit record data available.
    July 1990 -
      change in unit record format with the introduction of Australian Standard Classification of Occupation (ASCO) to code occupation.
    January 1991 -
      change in unit record format with the introduction of Australian Standard Classification of Countries for Social Statistics (ASCCSS) to code country.
    September 1994 -
      new passenger card introduced, to incorporate health and character details as required by the Migration Reform Act 1992.
    February 1995 -
      separate identification for Australian External Territories introduced.
    March 1995 -
      minor changes to passenger cards.
    June 1997 -
      introduction of projected short term visitor arrivals by country of residence based on information supplied by DIMA from their TRIPS database.
    July 1998 -
      change to passenger cards to delete questions for which data is available from other Immigration sources.
    July 1998 -
      Introduction of time actually spent in/out of Australia using TRIPS data.
    August 2000 -
      Only preliminary data available until DIMA's new data capture system is working. As yet, no firm date has been given for the arrival of August 2000 data and subsequent months.
    July 2001 -
      DIMA implemented a new electronic scanning passenger card processing system, rather than manual data entry. This resulted in big delays in data delivery affecting 2000 and 2001 publications.
    October 2002 -
      BREAK IN TREND SERIES -
        Short-term Resident departures (trend series): Indonesia, Total South-east Asia and Total — Bali bombing of 12 October 2002 — Decrease in STRDs.
    November 2002 -
      All backlog data published by November 2002 issue.
    June 2003 -
      Introduction of Short-term Visitor Arrivals to Australia, Preliminary (cat. no. 3401.0.55.001) - This is a preliminary publication for short-term visitor arrivals only. These preliminary data are based on data provided by DIMA's Travel and Immigration Processing System (TRIPS). Final estimates are provided in the relevant 3401.0.
    July 2003 -
      Outgoing passenger card revised with the introduction of tick boxes for state or territory where most time spent (Box D).This resulted in improved response rates.
    July 2003 issue - Concurrent seasonal adjustment replaced the forward factor seasonal adjustment method.
    December 2003 -
      BREAK IN TREND SERIES -
        Short-term Resident Departures (trend series): Indonesia, Total South-east Asia and Total — return to the trend levels experienced prior to the Bali bombing of 12 October 2002.
    January 2004 -
      Introduction of Short-term Visitor Arrival Estimates, Australia (cat. no. 3410.0.55.001) - This publication replaces Short-term Visitor Arrivals to Australia, Preliminary. This is a preliminary publication for short-term visitor arrivals only.
      These preliminary data are based on data provided by DIMA's Travel and Immigration Processing System (TRIPS). Final estimates are provided in the relevant 3401.0
    August 2004 -
      Country classification (ASCCSS) replaced by Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC) (cat. no. 1269.0).
    November 2004 -
      3401.0 released as a Portable document Format file (ie Adobe Acrobat.pdf format).
    November 2004 -
      Introduction of an improved method for removing trading day effects from seasonally adjusted estimates.
    December 2004 -
      The 26 December 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami occurred and was notified as a possible emerging issue.
    January 2005 -
      A new set of standard errors applied to sampled estimates. This was due to the sample for short-term movements being increased as a result of a review, resulting in smaller standard errors.
    January 2005 -
      Introduction of Ramadan correction for seasonal and trend time series estimates (Malaysia, Indonesia and Total South-East Asia).
    March 2005 -
      Introduction of new incoming passenger card. The changes incorporated were minor and did not affect the OAD data items detailed in 3401.0 or associated products.
    April 2005 -
      Introduction of an Easter correction for the United Kingdom for the seasonally adjusted and trend estimates.
      In the April 2005 issue it was advised that the impact of the 26 December earthquake and tsunami on the affected countries was considered to be 'not significant'.
    June 2005 -
      Introduction of a new method of presenting time series data to the AusStats service. The AusStats Time Series Spreadsheets are now presented in Excel format (.xls) replacing the spreadsheets that were previously provided in Lotus 1-2-3 (.WKS). See Information Paper: Overseas Arrivals and Departures, Australia, New Format Time Series Spreadsheets released 6/7/2005.
    July and August 2005 -
      The annual review of the seasonal adjustment process was undertaken after the release of June 2005 data . This annual review provided the opportunity to confirm the extent to which movements are due to seasonal or irregular influences. As a result, there were revisions to a small number of series along with the normal seasonally adjusted and trend series estimates revisions.
      Additionally, some seasonally adjusted series that had not previously been considered of publishable standard were published. These series were released over the period July and August in the monthly publication, time series spreadsheets and time series data files. These series were:
        Short-term visitor arrivals — Belgium, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, China (excludes SARs and Taiwan Province), Ireland, Mexico, Spain, Sri Lanka, United Arab Emirates, Vanuatu and Viet Nam
        Short-term resident departures — Croatia, Egypt, Korea, Norfolk Island, Samoa, Serbia and Montenegro, Sweden, Taiwan (Province of China) and Vanuatu.
    October 2005 -
      TAKE CARE included —
        Short-term Visitor Arrivals for Malaysia — large movements in series
        Short-term Resident Departures Indonesia — Bali bombing (2 October 2005) — decline in STRD — possible break in series being monitored.
    November 2005 -
      TAKE CARE included — BREAK IN TREND SERIES
        Short-term Resident Departures (trend series): Indonesia, Total South-east Asia and Total — Bali bombing of 1 October 2005 — decline in STRD.
    March 2006 -
      Technical Note Trend Revisions — The estimate used in the short-term resident departures scenario has been revised from 3.1% to 3.2%. This figure represents the average absolute monthly percentage change for resident departures over the last ten years.
    June 2006 -
      Data revision — On advice from DIMA, October 2005 revised upwards (approx 7,800 movements) — publication (calendar and financial years), spreadsheets, data files amended.
    July 2006 -
      Annual reanalysis of seasonally adjusted series undertaken - a number of small revisions inserted - new seasonally adjusted and trend series to be added to time series spreadsheets for the month of August 2006.
    August 2006 -
      The annual review of the seasonal adjustment process was undertaken after the release of June 2006 data. Additional series are now disseminated via time series spreadsheets and data files. Some of these series have been disseminated with a warning regarding the reliability of the seasonally adjusted series. These series are identified below.

      For short-term visitor arrivals the additional seasonally adjusted and trend series are: Russian Federation, Other Oceania and Antarctica, Other North-West Europe, Other Southern and Eastern Europe, Other North Africa and the Middle East, Other South-East Asia, Other North-East Asia, Other Southern and Central Asia, Other Americas and Other Sub-Saharan Africa. Additionally, East Timor is disseminated for the trend series only.

      For short-term resident departures the additional seasonally adjusted and trend series are: Argentina, Brazil, Cambodia, Chile, Cook Islands, Mauritius, Mexico, Nepal, Tonga, the United Arab Emirates, Other Oceania and Antarctica, Other North-West Europe, Other Southern and Eastern Europe, Other North Africa and the Middle East, Other South-East Asia, Other Southern and Central Asia, Other Americas and Other Sub-Saharan Africa. Additionally, East Timor, French Polynesia and Other North-East Asia are disseminated for the trend series only.

      Warnings

      Care should be taken when interpreting the seasonally adjusted estimates for the following series. The original series for these countries are volatile relative to the magnitude of the seasonal pattern. The seasonally adjusted estimates may not be reliable for these time series. This warning applies to:

      Short-term visitor arrivals: Other North-West Europe; Other North-East Asia.

      Short-term resident departures: Brazil, Cook Islands, Mauritius, Mexico, Other South-East Asia, Tonga and the United Arab Emirates.


    November 2006 -

      TECHNICAL NOTE: TREND REVISIONS — The 'what-if' analysis in the Technical Note is presented to give an indicative view of the possible revision of the current trend estimate based on the different scenarios of the future seasonally adjusted estimates. These trend scenarios should not be used as a prediction of future trend estimates. From the November 2006 issue of Overseas Arrivals and Departures, Australia (cat. no. 3401.0) future scenarios will no longer be presented in the 'what-if' analysis.

    March 2007 -

      Short-term resident departures to Indonesia, Total South-east Asia and Total — Break in trend series inserted from December 2006
      Trend series breaks due to the increase in movements to Indonesia to levels closer to, but still lower than, the movements experienced prior to the Bali bombing of 1 October 2005.
    May 2007 -
      Advice that permanent departures of Australian residents were overstated prior to July 1998. See Appendix 2, Data Quality Issues, July 1998 Processing.
    June 2007 -
      Advice on:
        Annual seasonal adjustment reanalysis being undertaken on data up to and including June 2007. Results to be published in July 2007
        Introduction of ARIMA modelling techniques.
    July 2007 -
      Annual seasonal adjustment reanalysis: The seasonally adjusted and trend series have been updated following the annual review of the seasonal adjustment process. This review provides an opportunity to confirm the extent to which movements are affected by seasonal or irregular influences. As a result, the seasonally adjusted and trend estimates of a number of series have been revised.
      Introduction of ARIMA modelling techniques: From this issue the ABS has implemented improved methods of producing seasonally adjusted estimates, focused on the application of Autoregressive Integrated Moving Average (ARIMA) modelling techniques. See paragraph 19 of the Explanatory Notes for more detail.
      Original series: While revisions were made to both the seasonally adjusted and trend series, no revisions were made to the previously published original series.
    August 2007 -
      Country of birth for New Zealand passport holders: From August 2007 a new method of imputation has been implemented. For further information see APPENDIX 2: DATA QUALITY ISSUES, Country of birth for New Zealand passport holders
    January 2008 -
      Layout changes include:
      • Restructuring of the KEY POINTS
      • Restructuring the MAIN FEATURES to enable the FEATURE ARTICLE to be displayed separately.
      • Moving the 'What if' analysis for short-term visitor arrivals and short-term resident departures from the TECHNICAL NOTE to the MAIN FEATURES
      • Removing the TECHNICAL NOTE from the publication
      • Moving the SEASONALLY ADJUSTED AND TREND ESTIMATES commentary to APPENDIX 3
    May 2008 -
      Due to reductions in the ABS work program, publication of the monthly Feature Article ceased until further notice.
    June 2008 - July 2008 -
        REVISIONS Annual seasonal adjustment reanalysis: The seasonally adjusted and trend series have been updated following the annual review of the seasonal adjustment process. This review provides an opportunity to confirm the extent to which movements are affected by seasonal or irregular influences. As a result, the seasonally adjusted and trend estimates of a number of series have been revised. Additionally, French Polynesia is now disseminated as a seasonally adjusted series in this product's associated time series spreadsheets.
      August 2008 -
        Confidentiality: Information on confidentiality practices undertaken by the ABS in the dissemination of data are included in paragraphs 12 to 14 of the Explanatory Notes.
      September 2008 -
        DELAY IN RELEASE: This release was scheduled for 6 November 2008 but was delayed due to the late receipt of data.
      November 2008 -

        MISSING DATA: The Australian Government Department of Immigration and Citizenship has advised that November 2008 data excludes 3,580 arrivals. This represents 0.4% of all arrivals in November 2008. For further information refer to the DATA QUALITY ISSUES APPENDIX, paragraph NOVEMBER 2008 PROCESSING in this issue.

      December 2008 -

        REVISIONS - November 2008 arrivals and departures data have been revised. For further information refer to the DATA QUALITY ISSUES APPENDIX, paragraph NOVEMBER 2008 PROCESSING in this issue.

      January 2009 -

        CHANGES IN THIS ISSUE - Passenger cards — No incoming and outgoing passenger cards have been notified by the Australian Government Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC). Images of these cards have been displayed in this issue, in Appendix 1. The changes incorporated were minor and do not affect the overseas arrivals and departures data items detailed in this publication or other associated products.

      March 2009 -

        CHANGES IN THIS ISSUE - Appendix 2 DATA QUALITY ISSUES: Information on DURATION OF STAY has been updated.

      June 2009 -
        SUSPENSION OF TREND ESTIMATES (SHORT-TERM RESIDENT DEPARTURES)
        The trend series attempts to measure the underlying behaviour in passenger movements. In the short term, this measurement may be significantly affected by unusual influences in the original and seasonally adjusted data, like those observed in April, May and June 2009 for Short-term Resident Departures. If the trend estimates in the publication were to be calculated without fully accounting for these unusual influences, they would be likely to provide a misleading view of the underlying trend in activity.

        Further, if passenger movements in subsequent months are influenced by these unusual influences, it may be some time before the underlying behaviour of the series can be reliably estimated. The trend estimates have therefore been suspended from April 2009 for all Short-term Resident Departures series. The trend estimates will be reintroduced when more stability emerges in the underlying behaviour of passenger movements.

        Appropriate seasonally adjusted estimates can be produced and will continue to be published as usual.

        Also, caution should be used when interpreting recent Short-term Visitor Arrivals trend estimates as they may be affected by unusual economic factors. For more details on trend estimates, please see paragraph 23 of the Explanatory Notes.

        FINAL RELEASE (.PDF FORMAT)
        This issue, June 2009, is the final release of Overseas Arrivals and Departures, Australia (cat. no. 3401.0) in .pdf format. Overseas Arrivals and Departures, Australia will continue to be released on a monthly basis as a web only release. The web only release will retain the publication's current textual content (e.g. key figures and points, main features, explanatory notes, etc.) and timeseries spreadsheets (Tables 1 to 12 in this month's .pdf).
      July 2009 -
        WEB ONLY RELEASE
        This is the first issue of the web only release of Overseas Arrivals and Departures, Australia (cat. no. 3401.0). The final .pdf format release of Overseas Arrivals and Departures, Australia was the June 2009 issue, published on 4 August 2009.
      November 2009 -
        DIAC advised the introduction of new passenger cards.The changes incorporated were minor and did not affect OAD output.
      January 2010
        With the release of the January 2010 issue of Overseas Arrivals and Departures, Australia (cat. no. 3401.0), improvements were made to the seasonal adjustment of Short-term Resident Departures to Poland and to Other Southern and Central Asia for the period between 1976 and 1984. Therefore, small changes will be seen in the Total Short-term Resident Departures Seasonally Adjusted and Trend estimates for that period.
      February 2010
      Re-introduction of Short-term Resident Departures trend estimates -
      The trend estimates have been re-introduced for all Short-term Resident Departures (STRD) series, with breaks introduced from April 2009 for all countries. Additional breaks have been introduced for Fiji from July 2009. A significant increase will be seen in the STRD trend from April 2009; therefore data should be interpreted with caution.
June 2010
      REVISIONS Annual seasonal adjustment reanalysis: The seasonally adjusted and trend series have been updated following the annual review of the seasonal adjustment process. This review provides an opportunity to confirm the extent to which movements are affected by seasonal or irregular influences. As a result, the seasonally adjusted and trend estimates of a number of series have been revised.
      Unreliable seasonal adjustment: In using the seasonally adjusted series, care should be exercised due to the difficulties associated with reliably estimating seasonal pattern for the following short-term resident departure series: Other North-East Asia, United Arab Emirates and French Polynesia. These series will be revised during the next annual seasonal adjustment reanalysis.

      February 2011
      Introduction of breaks in short-term resident departures trend estimates - Breaks have been introduced in trend estimates for short-term resident departures to Egypt at February 2011 and consequently to the trend for Total North Africa and the Middle East and the Total, due to the effects of ongoing political instability in Egypt. For further details, please see Explanatory Note 25.

      March 2011
      Introduction of breaks in short-term resident departures trend estimates - Breaks have been introduced in trend estimates for short-term resident departures to Japan and consequently to the trend for Total North-East Asia and the Total, due to the effects of the major earthquake and tsunami on 11 March 2011 in Japan and subsequent nuclear radiation exposure incidents.
May 2011
      Since the impact of break in STRD to Japan was minimal at the Total STRD level (hardly observable at this higher level), breaks in the STRD graphs on the front page and the Main Feature have been removed.
    February 2012
      Revisions:
      Annual seasonal adjustment reanalysis: The seasonally adjusted and trend series have been updated following the review of the seasonal adjustment process. This review confirms the extent to which movements are affected by seasonal or irregular influences. As a result, the seasonally adjusted and trend estimates of a number of series have been revised.
      Unreliable seasonal adjustment: In using the seasonally adjusted series, care should be exercised due to the difficulties associated with reliably estimating the seasonal pattern for the following short-term resident departure series: Other North-East Asia, United Arab Emirates, French Polynesia and East Timor. These series will be revised during the next annual seasonal adjustment reanalysis.
June 2012
BIENNIAL SEASONAL ADJUSTMENT REANALYSIS

27 The seasonally adjusted and trend series are updated biennially following a review of the seasonal adjustment process. This review confirms the extent to which movements are affected by seasonal or irregular influences. As a result, the seasonally adjusted and trend estimates of a number of series are revised.

28 Unreliable seasonal adjustment: In using the seasonally adjusted series, care should be exercised because of the difficulties associated with reliably estimating the seasonal pattern, for the following short-term resident departure series: Other North-East Asia, United Arab Emirates, French Polynesia and East Timor. These series will be revised during the next biennial seasonal adjustment reanalysis.
August 2012 - May and June 2012 arrivals and departures data has been revised in this issue. Investigations by the ABS and DIAC uncovered a processing lag in passenger cards, in particular from Australian seaports. While DIAC and the ABS endeavour to ensure the quality and usability of OAD data, there can often be variability in the accuracy of data by seaport each month. This is usually due to a lag in the delivery and processing of passenger cards from various Australian seaports. The ABS advises that OAD data by seaport should be used with caution. The ABS and DIAC will continue to work together to find future improvements in delivery and processing of passenger cards from seaports, For further information see Appendix 2 Data Quality Issues.
    DATA AVAILABILITY
    Yes

    Data availability comments
    n.a


    DATE OF LAST UPDATE FOR THIS DOCUMENT
    09/10/2012 03:09 PM



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