The Tourism Program is responsible for producing regular, timely and coherent data on tourism activities. It also undertakes a coordination and liaison role between tourism statistics users and other areas of the ABS that produce tourism-related statistics. The program conducts the Survey of Tourist Accommodation (STA) and compiles the Australian Tourism Satellite Account (TSA). The Tourism Program is also responsible for the development and maintenance of tourism frameworks, standards and concepts. Tourism-related data produced by other areas of the ABS includes Overseas Arrivals and Departures data, tourism-related exports and imports indicators and data collected under the Industry Statistics program.
The main clients of the program are: the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism; State and Territory tourism departments; tourism industry associations; academic and research groups; and marketing and consultancy bodies.
Tourism data are used to assist in economic analysis and policy formation relating to tourism, to measure the size and structure of the tourism industry and related industries, to allocate State and Territory government funding to regional areas, and for local government planning and investment. The STA data are an input into the policy and planning activities of government and industry, particularly in relation to tourism activity in regional areas. The TSA shows the contribution of tourism to major economic aggregates such as gross domestic product.
The key outputs of the program are quarterly data from the STA and annual data from the TSA. STA data is released as Tourist Accommodation, Australia (ABS cat. no. 8635.0) and provides detailed demand and supply data relating to hotels, motels and guest houses with 15 or more rooms, and serviced apartments with 15 or more units. One of the most valuable aspects of the STA is the fine level of geographic detail for which estimates are available.
The TSA is produced by the Tourism Program working in conjunction with the National Accounts program and is funded by the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism. The output from the TSA is released in Australian National Accounts: Tourism Satellite Account (ABS cat. no. 5249.0).
Other outputs of the program relate to research and development work in such areas as tourism statistics frameworks and classifications.
The program also actively assists in user education relating to Australian National Accounts: Tourism Satellite Account (ABS cat. no. 5249.0), Overseas Arrivals and Departures, Australia (ABS cat. no. 3401.0), tourism-related services exports and imports indicators in International Trade in Goods and Services, Australia (ABS cat. no. 5368.0) and Balance of Payments and International Investment Position, Australia (ABS cat. no. 5302.0), and the tourism-related outputs issued by the Industry Statistics program.
The main medium-term developments in the program are to:
- undertake research to refine and improve methodology for the benchmark Tourism Satellite Account to be published April 2013 – due September 2012
- move the STA to the new ABS geography standard, the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS), making small area data more geographically stable over time – due December 2012
- undertake research to further improve employment indicators in the Tourism Satellite Account, in association with Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism – due June 2013
- contribute to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation and other international bodies as they examine statistical standards and classifications – ongoing.
Industry & Productivity Statistics Branch
Topics @ a Glance - Tourism
Framework for Australian Tourism Statistics (ABS cat. no. 9502.0.55.001)