9502.0.55.001 - Framework for Australian Tourism Statistics, 2003  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 23/09/2003   
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Contents >> Chapter 1. The Conceptual Background >> The Framework Elements

27. A tourism activity involves the acquisition or use of a commodity (i.e. a good or service) for final consumption by the visitor him/herself or on behalf of the visitor. Each such activity is referred to as an 'event' or in economic terms, a 'transaction'.

28. The event, which is the core of the Framework, comprises three essential elements:

(a) the visitor undertaking the activity or transaction - referred to as the consumer,

    (b) the commodity involved in the activity - referred to as the product, and

    (c) the body supplying either the commodity or the environment in which the event takes place - referred to as the supplier.

    29. While the terms used suggest an economic interest, the model can apply to non-commercial transactions. For example, the use of a public beach might not involve any payment by the visitor to a supplier. The cleaning and provision of access to the beach however, involves a cost, which must be covered by some indirect funding source. The underlying principle of the model is that for an activity to be considered a tourism event, the three elements must be involved (i.e. the consumer, producer and supplier).

    30. The linkage between the three elements is a linear one, taking the form:

    Consumer --> Product --> Supplier.

    31. The order of the elements is important. Whether a product qualifies for inclusion depends entirely on whether the consumer qualifies for inclusion (i.e. is the consumer a visitor?). Similarly, whether a supplier qualifies for inclusion depends on whether the product (and ultimately the consumer) qualifies for inclusion. The sole criterion for the inclusion or exclusion of any particular product or supplier in a tourism event is the nature of the consumer.

    32. This approach recognises that tourism statistics can be collected from the demand (consumer) side, or from the supply (supplier) side. Where a supplier's products are consumed by both visitors and residents, as is usually the case, only consumption by visitors is relevant to tourism (i.e. only a part of a supplier's output should be included in the statistics). This usually requires estimation. At the national level the only industry sectors in which visitors might consume close to 100% of output are the short-term accommodation, long-distance passenger transport and travel agency sectors. In general, the proportion of a supplier's output that is consumed by visitors depends on the type of product, the location of the supplier (whether the location is a tourist destination) and the time of the year (i.e. peak or non-peak tourist season).

    33. In this model the consumer must always be considered to be the visitor. The visitor may not necessarily be the final consumer, rather making a purchase as a gift for or on behalf of someone else. The purchase does not necessarily have to be undertaken or funded by the visitor him/herself. Hence, an event is classified as tourism if either:

    (a) the final consumer of the commodity is a visitor, whether the purchase for final consumption is made by the visitor or by someone else (e.g. purchase of a travel ticket by an employer), or

    (b) the purchase of the commodity is made by the visitor for final consumption by someone else (e.g. purchase of souvenirs for friends or family).

    34. Identifying the supplier is somewhat more complex. The United Nations Statistical Office recommends that
        '...expenditure [by the consumer] should be considered to take place at the moment that goods or services are purchased by the visitor, that is, when they acquire legal title to the goods or, in the absence of such a title, when they receive the service.'
    35. This suggests the supplier would be the person from whom legal title to the goods is transferred or from whom the service is obtained (i.e. the direct supplier). For example, where a visitor stays in a hotel, the operator of the hotel is the supplier, rather than the business supplying the food in the hotel restaurant or the business responsible for cleaning hotel linen.
      36. For some research purposes (e.g. an assessment of the total effect of tourism demand on economic activity), the activity of an indirect supplier of a commodity whose final consumption will result from the activity of a visitor (i.e. a supplier further back in the supply chain, not directly supplying the visitor) may be included. The construction of an accommodation establishment or the manufacture of a souvenir are examples of this type of activity. While this Framework focuses on the tourism event involving the direct supplier and the visitor, the model used could easily be extended to incorporate the indirect supply of commodities to visitors.

      37. When goods are purchased by a visitor from a retailer, the supplier is the retailer, not the manufacturer or any other enterprise in the distribution chain. Where agents (e.g. travel and booking agents) are involved the transaction could be seen as involving two separate products:

      (a) the actual service that is being purchased (e.g. transport), and

      (b) the service provided by the agent in facilitating the purchase (e.g. an airline ticket for a flight to a destination). In practice it is often difficult or impossible to make this distinction and for statistical purposes the agent is treated in the same way as a retailer.

      38. Tourism statistics usually attempt to count, measure or describe some aspect of the event. This involves either:

      (a) a relationship between two of the three elements of the event (e.g. expenditure by overnight domestic visitors (i.e. consumer) on hotel accommodation (i.e. product)), or

      (b) describing some aspect or characteristic of one of the elements (e.g. the age distribution of international visitors (i.e. consumer)).

      39. Reflecting these vertical and horizontal requirements, the Framework model comprises two broad components:

      (a) the three elements of the event (i.e. the consumer, product and supplier) and definitions and classification systems for their components, and

      (b) the typical measures relating to each of these elements and their definitions and classifications.

      40. Figure 2 illustrates the Framework model diagrammatically.


      (a) Cultural tourism is defined by the Bureau of Tourism Research as attendance by visitors at one or more of the following cultural attractions: festivals or fairs (music, dance, comedy, visual arts, multi-arts and heritage); performing arts or concerts (theatre, opera, ballet and classical and contemporary music); museums or art galleries; historic or heritage buildings, sites or monuments; art or craft workshops or studios; and Aboriginal sites and cultural displays.

      (b) The economic activity status of a visitor is either 'in labour force' (employed or unemployed) or 'not in labour force' (e.g. students, income recipients).

      41. Having identified the Framework model in this section, Chapter 2 deals with the definitions and classifications relating to the components of the three elements of the event (i.e. the consumer, product and supplier). Chapter 3 deals with the typical measures relating to each of the elements and provides classifications and definitions for these where relevant.

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