1130.0 - Directory of Tourism Statistics, 2000  
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Contents >> Framework for the Collection and Publication of Tourism Statistics >> Framework for the Collection and Publication of Tourism Statistics

Framework for the Collection and Publication of Tourism Statistics


The rapid development of tourism in Australia in recent years has been accompanied by an increase in the need for more information on the size, characteristics and economic role of this increasingly important activity and rapid technological changes in information dissemination.

The development of statistical collections designed to address this need for more information, however, has tended to be disjointed and uncoordinated. The wide diversity of tourism interests requiring information is reflected in the decentralised supply of the information. The major producers of statistical information are the Bureau of Tourism Research, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), the various State/Territory Tourism Commissions, as well as academic institutions and private sector consultants.

In addition, development of the collections has occurred without the benefit of the availability of a set of consistent standards applying to concepts, definitions and classifications. This has significantly restricted the value of the various collections by inhibiting or preventing comparison and linkage between them.

To address this situation the ABS first produced in 1991 a draft Framework for the Collection and Publication of Tourism Statistics. Since then the Framework has been undergoing revision to reflect continuing development of the standards of the World Tourism Organisation (WTO). By incorporating a set of consistent concepts, definitions and standards, the Framework provides the basis for adopting a common language for all collections, both current and future. The use of this set of standards will provide linkage and comparability between the various Australian collections. It will also provide comparability with collections in other countries which have adopted the WTO international standards.

The United Nations and WTO published Recommendation on Tourism Statistics in 1994. This publication contains a comprehensive set of recommendations relating to
concepts, definitions and classifications for tourism statistics. The recommendations were ratified by the United Nations Statistical Commission in 1993 as the official international standards relating to tourism statistics. The Australian Framework for the Collection and Publication of Tourism Statistics adopts these standards.

In addition to these standards, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has been undertaking development of a number of classifications specifically designed for use in this country:

  • Australian Standard Classification of Visitor Accommodation (ASCOVA); and
  • Australian Standard Tourism Activities Classification (ASTAC).


The Framework adopts the internationally accepted approach that tourism is a demand side activity, comprising the activities of a particular type of consumer - visitors.
Visitors includes, in addition to recreational tourists, persons visiting an area for business and other reasons. The Framework identifies and provides the definitions of the various types of visitors; domestic, international, overnight and same-day visitors.

The Framework identifies the types of statistics that are generally required, i.e. those which in some way measure or describe the activities of these visitors. An activity is identified as an
event (or transaction) in which a visitor obtains a product from a supplier.

The Framework model is based on this transaction which comprises three elements:

The statistics either measure a relationship between two of these elements, e.g. value of purchases of food (product) by same-day visitors (consumer), or describe some aspect of one of the elements, e.g. number of employees in the accommodation sector (supplier).

The order of the elements and the arrows between them illustrate the hierarchical relationship between the elements. The principal element of the transaction is the consumer. Only if the consumer meets the definition of a visitor is the product and, consequently, the supplier involved in the transaction, relevant. For example, a restaurant meal can be supplied to a resident or a visitor. In principle, if the consumer is a visitor then the transaction would be included, but if the consumer is a resident then it would not be included. (In practice, of course, such distinctions cannot always be made.)

The Framework provides classification systems for each of the three elements.

CONSUMER is classified as:

international visitor:
  • tourist (overnight visitor);
  • same-day visitor;

domestic visitor:
  • tourist (overnight visitor); and
  • same-day visitor.

PRODUCT is classified into seven broad product groups:
  • package travel;
  • accommodation;
  • food and drink;
  • transport;
  • recreation and culture;
  • shopping; and
  • other.

These broad product groups are further broken down into more detailed categories.

The SUPPLIER group is classified according to a standard classification such as the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC).
Associated with each of the three elements is a list of typical measures, e.g. age and sex for consumers, expenditure for products and value of sales for suppliers. The Framework provides classification systems and definitions for all of the typical measures.

The Framework provides the common language for use in all tourism statistical collections and is intended for use by all providers and users of tourism statistics.

Copies of the Framework can be obtained from:

The Statistical Concepts Reference Library
Australian Bureau of Statistics
PO Box 10

Telephone: Canberra (02) 6252 5702
Facsimile: Canberra (02) 6251 5324

Email: client.services@abs.gov.au

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