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8634.0 - Tourism Indicators, Australia, Dec 2000  
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This article was published in the December Quarter 2000 issue of Tourism Indicators, Australia (ABS Catalogue No. 8634.0)

INTRODUCTION

On the 23 September 1993, Australia was awarded the Summer Games of the XXVII Olympiad, with the Olympic and Paralympic Games being held in Sydney during the months of September and October 2000. The decision was an important one for Australia, representing only the second time in history that it had been granted the right to host such an event. It was equally significant for the Australian tourism industry which had rarely if ever been the focus of such national and international attention before. This focus caused changes in demand for tourist accommodation, particularly in New South Wales.

This article examines tourist accommodation data over the July 2000 to December 2000 period, and compare it to the corresponding data collected for the previous year. It should also be noted that the introduction of The New Tax System (TNTS) in Australia on 1 July 2000 coincided with the Olympic game period and that "takings from accommodation" collected in the Survey of Tourist Accommodation are now shown inclusive of GST. Therefore care should be taken when comparing takings data after 1 July 2000 with takings data from earlier periods.


AUSTRALIAN OVERVIEW

F2.1 Tourist Accommodation - Hotels, Motels, Guest Houses and Serviced Apartments


6 months ending Dec 1999
6 months ending Dec 2000
% change
Establishments (no)
3 779
3 828
1.3
Guest Rooms (no)
190 079
194 926
2.5
Room Nights Available ('000)
34 677
35 880
3.5
Room Nights Occupied ('000)
20 810
20 992
0.9
Occupancy
60.01%
58.51%
-1.5
Takings from accommodation (million)
219
254
16.1
Average taking per Room Night Occupied
$105.25
$121.10
15.1



Table F2.1 presents broad level measures of capacity and occupancy at hotels,motels, guest houses and serviced apartments in Australia for the 6 months to December 1999 and the corresponding period in 2000. Growth was recorded across all indicators except occupancy rates (down 1.5 percentage points), where a 3% increase in the number of room nights available exceeded a 1% increase in room nights occupied.

The number of hotels, motels, guest houses and serviced apartments increased by 49 establishments at the end of 2000 compared to 1999. Serviced apartments recorded the largest increase (up 8%). There were also increases in the number of establishments classified to 4 and 5 star gaded accomodation. (up 11% and 8% respectively). The overall capacity of the 3,828 establishments increased by 4,847 to 194,926 guest rooms.

Takings from accommodation increased significantly in the six months to December 2000 compared to the corresponding period in 1999, with takings from licensed hotels up 20%, motels and guest houses up 6% and serviced apartments up 23%. Average takings per room night occupied rose from $128 to $148 for licensed hotels, $81 to $90 for motels and guest houses and from $110 to $124 for serviced apartments. The month of September recorded the highest takings for 2000 with $517.3 million, followed by October 2000 with $439.1 million and November 2000 with $425.9 million.

Changes in activity were also observed in the holiday flats, units and houses sector. In the six months to December 2000 compared to the corresponding period in 1997, capacity and takings increased 3% and 21% respectively, while unit nights occupied decreased 1%. New South Wales recorded large increases in capacity and unit nights occupied (both up 12%) and takings (up 52%). The increases in unit nights occupied and takings were highest in the September quarter, (up 14% and 75% respectively). All other States and Territories (except the Northern Territory) recorded decreases in unit nights occupied in the six months to December 2000 compared to the six months to December 1997. Similarly, takings from accommodation were down for all other States except Queensland (up 20%) and the Northern Territory (up 84%). The growth in the Northern Territory is attributable to an 18% increase in capacity over the three years to December 2000.

While caravan parks and visitor hostels showed growth in occupancy and takings in the six months to December 2000 compared to the same period in 1997, these accommodation establishments did not display noticable changes in New South Wales during the Olympic months.


IMPACT ON HOTELS, MOTELS, GUEST HOUSES AND SERVICED APARTMENTS IN THE STATES AND TERRITORIES

Room occupancy rates, hotels, motels, guest houses and serviced apartments


All States and Territories except Victoria recorded lower occupancy rates in both the September and December quarters 2000 compared to the corresponding quarters in 1999 (see Graph F2.2). Victoria recorded a marginal increase in the September quarter (up 0.2 percentage points) and a 1.3 percentage point increase in the December quarter. Occupancy rates in Victoria were highest during November 2000 (67%) with the Melbourne Tourism Region (TR) recording 81% occupancy in that month.

Quarterly room nights occupied, hotels, motels, guest houses and serviced apartments



The 6% growth in room nights occupied in New South Wales during the September quarter 2000 compared to September quarter 1999 was not matched by any other State or Territory. Negative growth was recorded for Queensland, Western Australia, Tasmania and both Territories. In addition, while the Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide TRs experienced quarterly growth in room nights occupied, all other capital city regions saw declines.

During the December quarter all States except South Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory recorded an increase in room nights occupied compared to the previous year (see Graph F2.3). For New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and Australia as a whole, room nights occupied were highest during the month of November indicating that some consumers delayed their holidays until after the Olympics.

All States and the ACT recorded increased takings from accommodation in the September quarter 2000 compared to the corresponding quarter in 1999. However, while takings in NSW increased 48%, the increases in other States were 10% or less and could largely be attributed to the introduction of the GST. While most capital city TRs recorded slightly higher takings than their respective State, the Sydney TR recorded 67% growth in takings.

In the December quarter 2000 compared to the same quarter in 1999, the increase in takings was more evenly spread across the States, with the increase varying from 4% in South Australia to 17% in New South Wales. The takings performance of each capital city TR except Adelaide TR was better than their State performance.


NEW SOUTH WALES

The supply of accommodation in New South Wales is moving slowly upwards (see Graph F2.4). The number of guest rooms in New South Wales increased by 3,507 to 64,828 in the 12 months to the end of December 2000.

The seasonal pattern of demand is also displayed in Graph F2.4, with the Olympic games period represented by a significant unseasonal increase in demand for tourist accommodation in September 2000 and a subsequent fall in October 2000. This was probably due to the combined effects of:
  • increased demand for accommodation during the Olympics (room nights occupied in hotels, motels, guest houses and serviced apartments increased by 13% when compared to September 1999); and
  • the indirect effect caused by the majority of school holidays falling in September for the Olympics.

Supply and demand for tourist accommodation, NSW


As for Australia, room occupancy rates in New South Wales for the year 2000 were generally lower than the previous year, with the September and December quarters 2000 down 1.4 and 2.2 percentage points on 1999. However despite this, during the month of September 2000 the occupancy rate was 67%, up 3.1 percentage points on September 1999 and the highest for the year 2000. During September 2000, occupancy rates in New South Wales reached record levels in licensed hotels (78%) and serviced apartments (69%).

The impact of the Olympics in New South Wales is more marked in the results for takings from accommodation (which also includes the effect of the GST), as shown in Graph F2.5. In the six months to December 2000, takings in New South Wales increased 32% on the same period last year, with the largest increases occurring during the month of September, where takings increased 114% to $271.5 million.

More establishments were classified to 4 and 5 star gradings between September 1999 and September 2000. This was reflected in higher than usual takings for September 2000 when takings from accommodation increased by 152% for licensed hotels, 42% for motels and guest houses and 184% for serviced apartments when compared to a year ago. This increase in takings equated to an increase in average takings per room night occupied across all accommodation types from $111 in September 1999, to $209 in September 2000.

Monthly takings from accommodation, NSW, hotels, motels, guest houses and serviced apartments



SYDNEY TOURISM REGION

The impact of the Olympics upon accommodation supply and demand was most pronounced in the Sydney TR.1 The number of hotels, motels, guest houses and serviced apartments in this region increased by 22 establishments in December 2000, compared to December 1999. Large increases in establishment numbers were recorded for licensed hotels (up 17%) and serviced apartments (up 16%), while the number of motels and guest houses fell by 2% on 1999 numbers.

The increased number of establishments boosted total capacity in the Sydney TR by 3,422 guest rooms, with the resulting increase in supply represented by a 14% increase in the number of room nights available in the 6 months to December 2000 compared to the same period in the previous year. Over this period, the increase in supply outstripped the growth in demand, with the number of room nights occupied in Sydney TR hotels, motels, guest houses and serviced apartments only increasing 9%. However, during the month of September 2000, a 27% increase in the number of room nights occupied occurred.

Supply and demand for tourist accommodation, Sydney (TR)


Following the national and state trend, the 69% occupancy rate for the Sydney TR for the 6 months ending December 2000 was 2.7 percentage points down on the same period in the year before. However, coinciding with the Olympic games, occupancy rates for the month of September 2000 were higher than in 1999. During this month, occupancy rates rose throughout most of the Sydney metropolitan area with the highest rates occurring in Parramatta (91%) and Bankstown (88% occupancy). The occupancy rates in these areas were up 10.6 and 27.7 percentage points respectively on the previous year. The only areas where occupancy rates fell in September were Randwick, (down 4.5 percentage points) and Lane Cove (down 2.1 percentage points).

Takings for the Sydney TR highlight the effect of higher occupancy rates and higher tariffs during the time of the Olympics, with takings for the six months to December 2000 increasing 43% on the same period in the year before. Not surprisingly the month of September 2000 displayed the largest growth in takings for the period, increasing 162% to $222.3 million (see Graph F2.7) over the year, with takings from licensed hotels up 166%, motels and guest houses up 102% and serviced apartments up 237%. For the month of September 2000, takings for the Sydney TR contributed 82% of the total takings for New South Wales and 43% of the total takings nationally.

Within the Sydney TR the largest contributors to total takings from accommodation for the month of September 2000 were:
  • Sydney Inner, up 207% to $97.8 million on September 1999;
  • Sydney Remainder, up 132% to $33 million;
  • South Sydney up 147% to $28 million; and
  • Parramatta up 219% to $10 million.

More establishments were classified to 4 and 5 star gradings in the 12 months to September 2000. This, together with increased demand and higher tariffs during the Olympic Games in the last half of the month, resulted in higher than usual takings for September 2000. Average takings per room night occupied increased from $134 in September 1999 to $311 in September 2000.

Monthly takings from accommodation, Sydney (TR), hotels, motels, guest houses and serviced apartments


Conclusion

The above comparison of tourist accommodation statistics during the six months to December 2000 and the corresponding period in 1999 highlights changes in the supply and demand for accommodation and takings from accommodation during the Olympics.

While the number of room nights available in hotels, motels, and guest houses and serviced apartments increased 3% nationally, the growth in occupancy did not match the growth in capacity and all States except Victoria recorded falls in occupancy rates.

For New South Wales, a 13% increase in the month of September, largely determined strong quarterly growth in the number of room nights occupied. For the December quarter, all States except Tasmania experienced growth, with New South Wales again recording the strongest quarterly result. Similar patterns are also revealed in the takings from accommodation statistics.

The analysis also places particular focus on the Sydney TR where most Olympic and Paralympic events were held. For this region, lower occupancy rates for the 6 months to December 2000 compared to the previous year were experienced. Conversely, for the month of September, occupancy rates rose throughout most of the region, with Paramatta reaching 91% occupancy. As a result significantly higher takings were recorded for the September month and quarter 2000.

Further information can be found in Tourist Accommodation, Australia (Cat. no. 8635.0) and Tourist Accommodation, Small Area Data, New South Wales (Cat. no. 8635.1.40.001), available from ABS Bookshops.

1 The Sydney Tourism Region consists of the following Local Government Areas: Ashfield (A); Auburn (A); Bankstown (C); Baulkham Hills (A); Blacktown (C); Botany Bay (C); Burwood (A); Camden (A); Campbelltown (C); Canterbury (C); Concord (A); Drummoyne (A); Fairfield (C); Hawkesbury (C); Holroyd (C); Hornsby (A); Hunter's Hill (A); Hurstville (C); Kogarah (A); Ku-ring-gai (A); Lane Cove (A); Leichhardt (A); Liverpool (C); Manly (A); Marrickville (A); Mosman (A); North Sydney (A); Parramatta (C); Penrith (C); Pittwater (A); Randwick (C); Rockdale (C); Ryde (C); South Sydney (C); Strathfield (A); Sutherland Shire (A); Sydney (C) - Inner; Sydney (C) - Remainder; Warringah (A); Waverley (A); Willoughby (C); Wollondilly (A); and Woollahra (A).

Note that Sydney is sub-divided into two Statistical local areas, Sydney City Inner and Sydney City Remainder.

Homebush, where most Olympic events took place, is located in Strathfield.

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