4680.0.55.001 - Information Paper: An Experimental Ecosystem Account for the Great Barrier Reef Region, 2015 Quality Declaration 
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SECTION 6 TOURISM


TOURISM

Tourism, which was almost non-existent in the 1950s, has grown to become the principal industry in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage area.

Some cultural services provide direct contributions to economic activity, such as tourism and recreational services. Other cultural services are implicit in the values placed on land ownership. An example is the utility people derive from the landscape, including the amenity value of a scenic view or the spiritual connection of indigenous peoples to land. Many cultural services are therefore difficult to measure as exchange values.

Tourism is a conventional economic activity within scope of the System of National Accounts (SNA). This activity is measured with a Tourism Satellite Account (TSA) in the Australian System of National Accounts (Australian National Accounts: Tourism Satellite Account (cat. no. 5249.0)). The TSA describes the size and economic contribution of tourism, through the measurement of tourism direct gross value added and tourism direct gross domestic product. It also provides detailed data on tourist consumption, employment in the tourism-related activities, and non-monetary information such as the number and purpose of visits.

The first part of this section covers both the terrestrial and marine domains of tourism services of the GBR Region. The second part of this section discusses the provision of indigenous cultural services from ecosystems.

This section uses concepts from the Australian Tourism Satellite Account (ATSA) framework, and uses ATSA data as national benchmarks to value regional tourism services. For example, tourism activity has been estimated through the calculation of 'tourism rent' in the terrestrial domain. Estimates for the marine domain are derived from an exchange value for offshore tourism access to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. The section also provides some contextual information around onshore tourism activity, such as Tourism Direct Gross Value Added and regional tourism employment.


TOURISM SERVICES

Ecosystem contribution is not explicitly identified as a factor of production in the SNA or the ATSA. It is instead reflected within estimates of economic rent, calculated after known factors of production are deducted to leave a residual figure. This residual, 'tourism rent', is analogous to the resource rent observed when businesses extract economic benefit from the ownership of assets. The relationship between tourism and ecosystem services varies widely by area, such that an estimate of tourism rent does not necessarily equate to an estimate of ecosystem rent.

A significant share of tourism activity in an urban area like Brisbane is not attributable to an ecosystem service. Tourists visiting Brisbane would be consuming a greater proportion of services provided by produced assets such as museums and art galleries. In the case of Brisbane, estimating tourism rent indicates the contribution of places and activities, being a combination of natural features, historical attractions, cultural or artistic experiences. However, a significant share of tourism activity in a pristine wilderness area is attributable to the enjoyment or amenity provided by an ecosystem. Tourists would be consuming a greater proportion of services provided by non-produced or ecosystem assets such as fauna, native forests and other flora.

This section does not define the specific ecosystem services contribution to tourism because non-market contributors to tourism are much wider than just ecosystems. However, there is evidence that tourism rent in the GBR Region is largely attributable to ecosystems.


TERRESTRIAL TOURISM SERVICES

Table 6.1 below describes the size and economic contribution of tourism in the GBR Region over the period 2001-02 to 2012-13. The table presents estimates for aggregates such as tourism direct gross value added, direct tourism employment and direct tourism consumption.

TABLE 6.1: TOURISM, GREAT BARRIER REEF REGION, 2001-02 to 2012-13, Selected Indicators

2001-02
2002-03
2003-04
2004-05
2005-06
2006-07
2007-08
2008-09
2009-10
2010-11
2011-12
2012-13
Selected Indicators

Direct tourism consumption ($ million)
5 626.7
5 662.7
5 836.1
5 888.0
7 080.1
8 001.4
8 363.8
8 176.1
8 274.9
7 658.3
8 560.0
8 633.7
Tourism direct GVA ($ million)
1 865.4
1 877.3
1 934.8
1 952.0
2 347.2
2 652.6
2 852.9
2 842.0
2 949.3
2 744.6
3 050.3
3 076.9
Tourism rent ($ million)
284.5
293.9
267.9
261.5
319.9
350.8
379.0
440.0
449.1
452.7
633.9
575.1
Tourism rent as share of tourism GVA (percentage)
15.3
15.7
13.8
13.4
13.6
13.2
13.3
15.5
15.2
16.5
20.8
18.7
Direct tourism employment ('000)
na
na
na
na
na
45.4
46.5
45.0
44.5
41.4
43.8
43.5
Tourism GVA per tourism employee (dollars)
na
na
na
na
na
58 484
61 364
63 097
66 335
66 216
69 712
70 663
Tourism rent per tourism employee (dollars)
na
na
na
na
na
7 734
8 153
9 769
10 101
10 921
14 486
13 207
Number of visitors (millions)
na
na
na
na
14.8
16.2
16.4
15.9
17.4
15.6
18.8
18.3
Tourism direct GVA per visitor (dollars)
na
na
na
na
158.73
163.29
173.65
178.34
169.86
175.56
162.04
168.45
Tourism rent per visitor (dollars)
na
na
na
na
21.63
21.59
23.07
27.61
25.87
28.96
33.67
31.48

na - not available
GVA - Gross Value Added
Sources: See the complete list at the end of this section


Table 6.1 above shows the number of visitors to the GBR Region increased from 14.8 million to 18.3 million people (or 24 per cent) between 2005-06 and 2012-13. This change is reflected in the value of direct tourism consumption, which increased from $7.1 million to $8.6 billion (or 22 per cent) in the same period. Tourism rent, as a share of tourism direct gross value added, increased from 15.3 per cent to 20.8 per cent between 2001-02 and 2011-12, before decreasing to 18.7 per cent in 2012-13. Tourism rent per visitor reached $31 in 2012-13, an increase of 41 per cent from the 2005-06 figure of $22. Tourism direct gross value added per visitor increased at a slower rate in the same period, from $159 to $168 (a 6 per cent rise).

TABLE 6.2: TOURISM EXPENDITURE, BY NRM REGION, GREAT BARRIER REEF REGION, 2005-06 to 2012-13, Current Prices ($ million)

2005-06
2006-07
2007-08
2008-09
2009-10
2010-11
2011-12
2012-13
NRM Region

Burdekin
721.6
824.8
925.7
779.5
859.1
741.1
958.2
889.6
Burnett Mary
1 020.4
1 076.5
1 127.4
1 210.3
1 049.9
1 102.4
1 203.3
1 221.7
Cape York
57.6
56.6
56.0
58.7
60.2
61.3
57.0
55.5
Fitzroy
778.1
810.5
921.5
810.2
933.1
816.0
1 116.1
1 160.8
Mackay Whitsunday
1 150.3
1 173.5
1 003.5
1 039.3
1 142.4
937.1
1 060.4
1 093.9
Wet Tropics
2 421.3
2 490.5
2 541.2
2 424.4
2 467.0
2 215.1
2 464.6
2 488.3
Total GBR Region
6 149.4
6 432.4
6 575.4
6 322.3
6 511.7
5 873.0
6 859.7
6 909.7

Sources: International Visitors Survey (IVS) and National Visitors Survey (NVS), Tourism Research Australia (TRA).


Table 6.2 above shows tourism expenditure by NRM Region in the GBR Region. The Wet Tropics NRM Region recorded the highest tourism expenditure each year through the reference period 2005-06 to 2012-13, recording $2.5 billion in 2012-13, followed by the Burnett Mary NRM Region ($1.2b), Fitzroy NRM Region ($1.2b), and Mackay Whitsunday NRM Region ($1.1b). Total tourism expenditure in the GBR Region increased from $6,149 million to $6,910 million (a 12 per cent rise) between 2005-06 and 2012-13.

TABLE 6.3: TYPE OF VISITOR, BY NRM REGION, GREAT BARRIER REEF REGION, 2001-02 to 2012-13, Numbers (millions)

2005-06
2006-07
2007-08
2008-09
2009-10
2010-11
2011-12
2012-13
NRM RegionVisitor Type

BurdekinTotal visitors
2.2
2.3
2.3
2.1
2.6
2.4
2.5
2.3
Holiday visitors
1.2
1.0
1.1
1.1
1.3
0.9
1.0
1.2
Burnett MaryTotal visitors
4.3
4.4
4.7
5.1
5.1
4.9
6.1
5.6
Holiday visitors
2.4
2.3
2.6
2.9
2.6
2.5
3.0
2.9
Cape YorkTotal visitors
0.1
0.1
0.1
0.1
0.1
0.1
0.1
0.1
Holiday visitors
0.1
0.1
0.1
0.1
0.1
0.1
0.1
0.1
FitzroyTotal visitors
2.5
3.1
3.3
2.5
3.5
2.8
3.6
3.5
Holiday visitors
1.1
1.3
1.6
1.4
1.5
1.0
1.4
1.4
Mackay WhitsundayTotal visitors
1.8
2.4
1.8
1.8
2.0
1.7
2.0
2.2
Holiday visitors
1.0
1.3
1.2
1.0
1.2
0.9
1.0
1.1
Wet TropicsTotal visitors
3.9
4.0
4.2
4.4
4.1
3.9
4.6
4.6
Holiday visitors
2.5
2.6
2.7
2.7
2.3
2.1
2.6
2.8
Total GBR RegionTotal visitors
14.8
16.2
16.4
15.9
17.4
15.6
18.8
18.3
Holiday visitors
8.2
8.5
9.3
9.2
8.9
7.4
9.0
9.4

Sources: International Visitors Survey (IVS) and National Visitors Survey (NVS), Tourism Research Australia (TRA).


Table 6.3 above shows data on the type of visitor by NRM Region in the GBR Region. In 2012-13, holidaying was the main purpose of visit for half of all the visitors to the region (9.4 million). This purpose is an indicator of the number of visitors who specifically went to the region in order to consume ecosystem services. It does not suggest that half of all tourism rent is attributable to holiday visitors or to ecosystems, nor can it be assumed that these visitors have the same expenditure patterns as other types of travellers.

Table 6.4 below shows average tourism employment by NRM Region in the GBR Region for 2011-12. The Wet Tropics NRM Region recorded the highest average tourism employment in 2011-12, with 15,700 people employed in tourism connected industries, or 14.4 per cent of that region's workforce. Tourism also contributes strongly to the economy of the Mackay Whitsunday NRM Region, where 6,800 people (10.1 per cent of the region's workforce) were employed in tourism connected industries. The Burdekin NRM Region recorded lower tourism employment than other regions, despite having the highest number of visitors in most years. In 2011-12, 6.1 per cent of its workforce was engaged in tourism connected industries.

TABLE 6.4: TOURISM EMPLOYMENT, BY NRM REGION, GREAT BARRIER REEF REGION, 2011-2012, Selected Indicators

Tourism employment
Total employed persons
Tourism employment
2011-12
August 2011
August 2011
NRM Region
Numbers ('000s)
Numbers ('000s)
% of Total employed persons

Burdekin
6.1
108.3
5.6
Burnett Mary
7.7
111.9
6.8
Cape York
0.4
na
na
Fitzroy
7.1
110.2
6.4
Mackay Whitsunday
6.7
67.2
10.0
Wet Tropics
15.7
108.6
14.4
Total GBR Region
43.8
506.1
8.6

na - not available
Sources: See the complete list at the end of this section


MARINE PARK TOURISM

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority levies an Environmental Management Charge (EMC) on users of the park engaging in tours and other experiences with registered operators. The EMC is collected by tourism operators from visitors to the Marine Park, and is paid to the Commonwealth Government. It contributes to the management of the Marine Park, and is applied differentially by the type of visit undertaken. Note that the actual charge value has changed through the time series.

Table 6.5 below shows the number of visits to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park over the period 2002-03 to 2012-13. The table also shows the value of total revenue collected through the EMC in the same period. The number of visits to the Marine Park increased from 1.9 million to 2 million between 2002-03 and 2012-13, a 5 per cent increase. The value of revenue collected in the Marine Park increased by 20 per cent from $6.6 million to $7.9 million in the same period, due to gradual increases in part-day and full-day charges. From 2012, the EMC charged by operators was reduced for three years, being offset by the Commonwealth Government. The data reported in Table 6.5 includes both components of the Environmental Management Charge.

TABLE 6.5: TOURISM, GREAT BARRIER REEF MARINE PARK, 2002-03 to 2012-13, Selected Indicators

2002-03
2003-04
2004-05
2005-06
2006-07
2007-08
2008-09
2009-10
2010-11
2011-12
2012-13
Selected Indicators

Number of visits (million)
1.9
2.0
2.0
1.9
1.9
2.0
1.9
1.9
1.8
1.9
2.0
Value of charges ($ million)
6.6
7.3
7.4
7.0
7.3
7.5
7.4
7.4
7.3
7.6
7.9

Source: Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA)


The EMC is a charge that is independent of services offered by operators within the park, and is wholly directed at park management. It is an observed market transaction, and represents a payment that upholds the ecosystem's ability to provide a tourism experience. Therefore, the EMC can be attributed to the region as a measure of ecosystem service value.

In concept, the EMC is likely to be an additional source of value to the estimate of ecosystem services embedded in tourism (resource) rent. The reason is that the EMC appears in the Australian System of National Accounts as a tax on products, and is deducted from the calculation of gross operating surplus before estimates of rent are derived. It should not therefore form part of the additional value extracted from tourist attractions.

In practice, the EMC is recorded in tourism surveys because the cost of the charge is passed onto visitors, and increases total expenditure by tourists. This would have the impact of making expenditure in the GBR Region a slightly higher share of national expenditure than it otherwise would be, due to this increased cost to tourists.

For the purpose of this account, each charge is counted as a visit to the park, though users are reminded that this does not indicate 'people day' visits. For example, one visitor may be charged more than one fee per day depending on the types of visits they are engaging in.


LIST OF REFERENCES

ABS Australian System of National Accounts (cat. no. 5204.0)
ABS Australian National Accounts: State Accounts (cat. no. 5220.0)
ABS Australian National Accounts: Tourism Satellite Account (cat. no. 5249.0)
ABS 2011 Census of Population and Housing
Tourism Research Australia, International Visitors Survey
Tourism Research Australia, National Visitors Survey
Tourism Research Australia, State Tourism Satellite Account, 2012-13
Reserve Bank of Australia: Statistical Tables