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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2002  
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Contents >> Tourism >> The economic importance of tourism

ECONOMIC IMPORTANCE OF TOURISM

INTRODUCTION

In October 2000 the ABS published Australian National Accounts: Tourism Satellite Account, 1997-98 (5249.0). This publication represents the first ABS attempt to put tourism into a national accounting framework.

Tourism is not a conventional industry in the System of National Accounts (SNA 93). It is defined by the customer (visitor) rather than the product produced. The tourism satellite account (TSA) creates a broad picture of tourism which allows it to be compared to conventional industries like agriculture, manufacturing and retail trade.

The estimates of tourism gross domestic product (TGDP) and tourism gross value added relate to the direct impact of tourism activity. This means that only the value added where there is a direct economic or physical relationship between the visitor and the producer of a good or service is included. Similarly, the employment estimates only include employment generated where visitors have a direct relationship with the producer of the good or service.


Key results

Tourism GDP measures the total market value of goods and services produced in Australia which are consumed by visitors, less the cost of the inputs used in producing those goods and services. Tourism accounted for $25.2b or 4.5% of Australia's GDP in 1997-98. Most of this was generated by domestic households (68% of tourism GDP), while international visitors and business/government visitors accounted for 21% and 11% of tourism GDP respectively.

Gross value added is the preferred national accounts measure of industry production as it excludes taxes and subsidies on products. In 1997-98, tourism gross value added was $22.4b. The air and water transport (14.5%), accommodation (10.7%), cafes, restaurants and takeaway food outlets (9.9%) and other retail trade industries (8.8%) accounted for 44% of total tourism gross value added. The remaining share was distributed widely among other industries.





Tourism contributed 4.3% to total industry gross value added. This compares well with other industries (see graphs 22.2 and 22.3).







International visitors consumed $12.8b worth of goods and services, or 11.2% of total export earnings in 1997-98. Only the mining (35%), manufacturing (23%) and agriculture (20%) industries contributed larger shares.

Tourism consumption totalled $58.2b. Domestic households consumed the largest share (67%) while international visitors (22%) and domestic business/government visitors (11%) consumed the remainder. Overnight visitors accounted for the bulk of domestic tourism consumption (77%). The remainder of domestic consumption was by day visitors (23%).

Long distance passenger transportation was the largest tourism product (18% of the total consumption of tourism products), followed by shopping (16%), takeaway and restaurant meals (15%) and accommodation services (9%) (graph 22.4).




The TSA estimates that 513,000 persons were in tourism-generated employment in 1997-98. This represented 6% of total employed persons in the economy. The retail trade and accommodation industries were the largest contributors, accounting for 27% and 18% respectively of tourism employment. Of total tourism employment, 37% were employed on a part-time basis and there was a fairly equal proportion of males and females.


International comparisons

Australia is one of a small number of countries that have produced an official TSA. Tables 22.5 to 22.7 show Australia's TSA ratios, for tourism's share of gross value added and employment, and the international visitor share of total tourism expenditure. The ratios have been adjusted to a conceptual basis comparable with ratios for New Zealand, Canada and the USA.

The adjusted tables show that the tourism share of gross value added is higher in Australia than in Canada and the USA, but lower than in New Zealand. The tourism share of employment is similar in New Zealand and Australia, but tourism contributes more to employment in Australia than in Canada or the USA.

International visitors made similar contributions to tourism consumption in Australia and the USA, but both these countries recorded lower contributions than Canada. A comparison with New Zealand is not possible as total international visitor consumption was not published in the New Zealand TSA for 1997.



22.5 TOURISM'S SHARE OF GROSS VALUE ADDED, Selected Countries

Share
Australia's ratio (1997-98)
adjusted to same
conceptual basis
Country
%
%

New Zealand (1997)
4.7
4.0
Canada (1997)(a)
2.5
3.9
USA (1997)(a)
2.3-2.8
3.3

(a) Canadian and USA estimates are at factor cost i.e. taxes on production are excluded.

Source: ABS data available on request, Australian National Accounts: Tourism Satellite Account.


22.6 TOURISM'S SHARE OF EMPLOYMENT, Selected Countries

Share
Australia (end June 1998)
adjusted to same
conceptual basis
Country
%
%

New Zealand (1997)(a)
5.6
5.6
Canada (1997)
3.7
5.7
USA (1997)
3.3-4.0
5.1

(a) New Zealand estimates are for full-time equivalent employees.

Source: ABS data available on request, Australian National Accounts: Tourism Satellite Account.


22.7 INTERNATIONAL VISITOR SHARE OF TOTAL TOURISM EXPENDITURE, Selected Countries

Share
Australia (1997-98)
adjusted to same
conceptual basis
Country
%
%

New Zealand (1997)
n.p.
20
Canada (1997)
29
20
USA (1997)
19-22
22

Source: ABS data available on request, Australian National Accounts: Tourism Satellite Account.

Conclusion

The TSA expands the core national accounts to include tourism within the national accounting framework. The results show the importance of tourism to the Australian economy.

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