ONGOING RESEARCH AND DIVERGENCE ISSUES
The ABS will implement in the 2008-09 Australian TSA publication as far as possible, the statistical standards provided by the Tourism Satellite Account: Recommended Methodological Framework (TSA:RMF 2008), but there are a small number of areas where this has not been possible, due to unavailability of data or lack of relevance to the Australian economy. The ABS will continue to investigate implementation in the areas discussed below. This section describes issues where the ABS will continue its current treatment in Australian statistics. The divergences listed do not have a significant impact on key aggregates.
Areas of non-compliance will include some issues which remain unresolved from the original standards and will not focus solely on non-compliance with changes to standards.
The international standards propose to measure employment in the tourism industries, which is a distinctly different concept to tourism employment as currently produced by the ABS. Due to the low tourism share of some tourism industries in the Australian context, the introduction of this measure would result in a disconnect between value added and employment, in particular for industries where tourism share is low, such as retail trade and transport industries.
The Australian TSA presents a single measure of employment referred to as tourism employed persons which is derived by applying the proportion of total value added of the industry which relates to tourism, to the number of employed persons in the industry.
While the revised and previous international tourism standards recognise this as a statistic of significant interest, they do not go as far as to fully recommend its inclusion because of questions about its conceptual validity. However, despite these reservations, it is a central feature of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Measuring the role of Tourism in the OECD Economies and is presented in the Australian TSA and in the TSAs of some other countries.
The amount and detail of data proposed under the new standards is far greater than what is currently produced by the ABS. Demand currently exists for more detailed employment estimates in the Australian TSA and the ABS plans to investigate the feasibility (data quality and availability) and cost of expanding the range of employment data.
Gross fixed capital formation (GFCF) by tourism industries
The revised standards recommend the presentation of investments by tourism industries and by type of asset. ABS measures of GFCF are based around getting good estimates at the total economy level so there is not data available at this detailed tourism level.
This is an area for possible future research into deriving an aggregate tourism industry investment estimate (possibly by asset type) or more detailed industry investment by tourism related industries. A range of data and methodological issues would need to be explored and potentially collection of additional investment (capital expenditure) data from targeted industries.
Annual Australian National Accounts data (Cat. No 5204.0) provide industry estimates at the ANZSIC division level by broad asset type for aggregates such as gross fixed capital formation, gross and net capital stock, average age of gross capital stock and consumption of fixed capital.
Tourism collective consumption by government
Collective consumption refers to services provided simultaneously to all members of the community or to all members of a particular section of the community, such as all households living in a particular region. Collective services are automatically acquired and consumed by all members of the community, or group of households in question, without any action on their part. Typical examples are public administration and the provision of security, either at a national or local level. By their nature, collective services cannot be sold to individuals on the market, and they are financed by government units out of taxation or other incomes.
The defining characteristics of collective services are as follows: collective services can be delivered simultaneously to every member of the community or to particular sections of the community, such as those in a particular region; the use of such services is usually passive and does not require the explicit agreement or active participation of all the individuals concerned; and the provision of a collective service to one individual does not reduce the amount available to others in the same community or section of the community.
Note that collective consumption excludes the provision of individual non-market services, such as cultural services, to visitors because the beneficiaries of these services can be separately identified.
Data is not available to provide information on collective consumption with relation to tourism, as specified in Table 9 of the recommended publication tables in the revised international standards.
The TSA international standards recommend for tables and key aggregates to be presented in both current and constant prices. While the ABS supports the use of volume estimates, there is limited data on the supply side to deflate taxes, intermediate consumption and value added because Australian TSA industries are narrower than the supply-use industries. Deflators in the supply and use tables are at a broader industry level than those needed for the TSA. Some industries such as Gambling are expected to be especially problematic as no suitable deflators currently exist.