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3401.0 - Overseas Arrivals and Departures, Australia, Oct 2001  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 22/11/2001   
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Feature Article - International Tourism and its worth to Australia

This Feature Article is sourced from publication Overseas Arrivals and Departures, Australia (Cat. no. 3401.0).


The National Accounts provide a systematic framework for measuring national economic activity. Satellite accounts are designed to focus on a particular area of economic and social interest that may not be explicitly measured in the core national accounts. Australian National Accounts: Tourism Satellite Account 1997-98 (Cat.No.5249.0), is the first Tourism Satellite Account (TSA) for Australia and was released in October 2000.

Unlike most industries, tourism is defined from the demand side rather than the supply side, that is, by the type of customer rather than by the type of product produced. It is the activity of visitors that is of interest, and a visitor is defined as 'any person travelling to a place other than that of his/her usual environment for less than 12 months and whose main purpose of journey is other than the exercise of an activity remunerated from within the place visited'.

Tourism in total accounted for $25.2 billion or 4.5% of Australia's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 1997-98. This article concentrates on the economic contribution of international visitors to tourism in Australia.


INTERNATIONAL VISITOR SPENDING

International visitor consumption includes all expenditure on goods and services within Australia by non-resident visitors. International visitors accounted for $12.8 billion or 22% of total tourism consumption in 1997-98. Long distance passenger transportation and accommodation services contributed 43% of tourism consumption by international visitors. If the value of shopping, gifts and souvenirs is added to long distance passenger transportation and accommodation services they account for over half (58.5%) of international tourism consumption.


TOURISM CONSUMPTION BY INTERNATIONAL VISITORS


Reason for Consumption
$m
%
$ per visitor

Long distance passenger transportation
3,918
31.0
928
Shopping, gifts and souvenirs
2,011
15.7
477
Accommodation services
1,560
12.2
370
Takeaway and restaurant meals
819
6.4
194
Food products
779
6.1
185
Fuel (petrol, diesel)
139
1.1
33
Alcoholic beverages and other beverages
361
2.8
86
Education
801
6.3
190
All other tourism products
2,404
18.8
570
Total
12,792
100.0
3,031


There were 4.2 million international visitors to Australia in 1997-98 and their average per head consumption on goods and services purchased in Australia was $3,031. The total average per head expenditure on trips to Australia by international visitors was $3,946. The difference between the two averages is the amount spent on goods and services provided by non-resident businesses (foreign carriers etc.).


INTERNATIONAL VISITOR CONTRIBUTION TO TOTAL EXPORTS

International tourism is an important contributor to Australia's export earnings, with 11.2% or $12.8 billion of total exports of goods and services attributed to international visitors. The contribution of tourism products to total exports is comparable with traditional exports of primary products. In 1997-98, tourism products were a higher export earner than coal (8.4%) and petroleum and gas (5.1%), but a lower export earner than food and live animals (14.1%).
SELECTED EXPORTED COMMODITIES, 1997-98,
As a percentage of total exports
Image - graph - selected exported commodities, 1997-98


COUNTRY COMPARISONS

Australia is one of only a few countries to have released an official TSA. Some other countries that have published official TSAs are Canada, New Zealand and the United States. Comparisons can be made between different countries although there are some conceptual differences, particularly in the scope of what is covered in tourism consumption. As far as possible the differences in scope have been adjusted for in the table below, although the irregular release of TSAs means that the reference year for each country is different. The table shows that international visitors contributed a significantly lower proportion to total tourism expenditure in Australia than in both New Zealand and Canada but contributed about the same as in the United States of America. %


INTERNATIONAL VISITOR SHARE OF TOURISM CONSUMPTION

Australia adjusted to
same conceptual basis
Australia
New Zealand
Canada
USA
as other countries
1997-98
1995
1997
1997
1997-98

22%
47%
22% (a)
29%
20% (b)
19-22%
22% (c)

(a) New Zealand basis
(b) Canadian basis
(c) USA basis

REFERENCES

Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australian National Accounts: Tourism Satellite Account, 1997-98. (Cat.No.5249.0), ABS, Canberra. Kass D. and Okubo S. July 2000, 'US travel and Tourism Satellite Accounts for 1996 and 1997', Survey of Current Business, Bureau of Economic Analysis, Washington. Statistics Canada, Tourism Statistical Digest 1999, Statistics Canada, Ottawa, 1999. Statistics New Zealand, Tourism Satellite Account 1995, Statistics New Zealand, Wellington, 1999.


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