3401.0.55.001 - Short-term Visitor Arrivals to Australia, Preliminary, Aug 2003  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 12/09/2003   
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This publication contains preliminary statistics on short-term visitor arrivals to Australia, including a breakdown by country of usual residence for selected major regions and countries.

2 These preliminary estimates are revised and final estimates are published in the ABS monthly publication, Overseas Arrivals and Departures, Australia (cat. no. 3401.0).

3 From June 1997 until May 2003, preliminary estimates for short-term visitor arrivals were published in the monthly Overseas Arrivals and Departures publication. The decision to produce this monthly electronic release of preliminary data followed feedback on the ABS Demography Working Paper 2003/4 - A New Dissemination Strategy for Overseas Arrival and Departure Statistics


The preliminary estimates of short-term visitor arrivals are based on data provided by the Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs' (DIMIA) Travel and Immigration Processing System (TRIPS).

5 Final estimates of short-term visitor arrivals are based on incoming and outgoing passenger cards, completed by persons arriving in, or departing from Australia. More information about the methodology underlying final estimates of short-term visitor arrivals (including information about estimation, standard errors and data quality issues) can be found in Overseas Arrivals and Departures, Australia (cat. no. 3401.0).


6 The statistics in this publication relate to the number of movements of travellers rather than the number of travellers (i.e. multiple movements of individual persons during a given reference period are each counted separately). The statistics exclude the movements of operational air and ships' crew, of transit passengers who pass through Australia but are not cleared for entry, and of passengers on pleasure cruises commencing and finishing in Australia aboard ships not then engaged on regular voyages. Similarly, these statistics exclude those persons not travelling under standard visa conditions, that is, unauthorised arrivals.


The classification of countries in table 2 of this publication is the Australian Standard Classification of Countries for Social Statistics (ASCCSS). For more detailed information refer to the ABS publication, Australian Standard Classification of Countries for Social Statistics (cat. no. 1269.0).


The TRIPS system produces a limited range of data, including country of citizenship. The ABS applies a model which uses the relationship between country of citizenship from TRIPS and country of residence from incoming passenger card data over 25 months, to produce preliminary estimates by country of usual residence.

9 The relationship between TRIPS and passenger card data is not sufficiently stable to produce estimates of a publishable standard for countries other than those in table 2 of this publication.

10 The statistics in this publication have been rounded to the nearest 100. The sums of the components may, due to rounding, not add exactly to totals.


11 Seasonally adjusted and trend estimates of short-term overseas visitor arrivals shown in table 1.

12 Seasonally adjusted estimates are derived by estimating and removing systematic calendar related effects from the original series. In the short-term visitor arrival and short-term resident departure series, these calendar related effects are known as seasonal (e.g. increased travel in December due to the Christmas holiday period) and trading day influences (arising from the varying length of each month and the varying number of Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays, etc. in each month). Each influence is estimated by separate seasonal and trading day factors which, when combined, are referred to as the combined adjustment factors.

13 From July 2003, concurrent seasonal adjustment methodology has been used to derive the combined adjustment factors. This means that data from the current month are used in estimating seasonal and trading day factors for the current and previous months. Concurrent seasonal adjustment replaces the forward factor methodology used since seasonal adjustment of short-term visitor arrivals began in 1969.

14 Concurrent adjustment can result in revisions each month to the seasonally adjusted estimates for earlier periods. However, in most instances, the only noticeable revisions will be to the combined adjustment factors for the current month, the previous month and the same month a year ago. Although there is no specific Information Paper on concurrent adjustment to short-term visitor arrivals, more detail on the method in general can be found in the information paper, Introduction to Concurrent Seasonal Adjustment into the Retail Trade Series (cat. no. 8514.0).

15 Seasonal adjustment procedures do not aim to remove the irregular or non-seasonal influences which may be present in any particular month, such as the effect of major sporting and cultural events, changes in airfares and the fluctuation of the Australian dollar relative to other currencies. Irregular influences that are highly volatile can make it difficult to interpret the movement of the series even after adjustment for seasonal variation. Trend estimates take these irregular influences into account.

16 The trend estimates of short-term overseas visitor arrivals and short-term Australian resident departures are derived by applying a 13–term Henderson-weighted moving average to all months of the respective seasonally adjusted series except the first and last six months. Trend series are created for the last six months by applying surrogates of the Henderson weighted moving average to the seasonally adjusted series.

17 While this technique enables smoothed data for the latest period to be produced, it does result in revisions to the smoothed series, principally of recent months, as additional observations become available. There may also be revisions as a result of the re-estimation of the seasonal factors. For further information, see A Guide to Interpreting Time Series—Monitoring Trends (cat. no. 1349.0), released 4 August 2003.

18 Trend estimates in this issue have taken the impact of Severe Acute Respiratory syndrome (SARS), the Second Gulf War and recent terrorist threats into account. These impacts have been estimated as transitional effects on the original time series data, based on recent evidence of a recovery in short-term visitor arrival. These estimates may be revised with the availability of additional time series data and further evidence of the continuing recovery. Details of the methods used in this exercise are available on request.


Users of these statistics may also wish to refer to the following ABS publications:

  • Overseas Arrivals and Departures, Australia (cat. no. 3401.0) - issued monthly
  • Australian Demographic Statistics (cat. no. 3101.0) - issued quarterly
  • Migration, Australia (cat. no. 3412.0) - issued annually

20 Related statistics are also published by the Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs, the Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources and the Bureau of Tourism Research.

Current publications and other products produced by the ABS are listed in the Catalogue of Publications and Products, Australia (cat. no. 1101.0). The Catalogue is available from any ABS office or the ABS web site. The ABS also issues a daily Release Advice on the web site which details the products to be released in the week ahead.


The range of statistics available from preliminary data is limited to what has been included in this publication.

23 A wider range of variables are available for final data including;

Citizenship (Nationality)
Country of birth
Age (Date of birth)
Marital status (not available for Australian or New Zealand citizens)
Category of travel
Permanent migrant
    Previous/future country of residence
    State of intended address/lived
Overseas visitor
    Intended/actual length of stay
    Main reason for journey
    Country of residence
    State of intended address/in which most time spent
Australian residents
    Intended/actual length of stay overseas
    Country spent/intend to spend most time abroad
    State or territory of intended address/state or territory lived
Occupation (not available for short-term movements)
Country of embarkation/disembarkation
Airport/Port of arrival/departure
Arrival/departure date
Intention to live in Australia for next 12 months (not available for short-term movements)


24 This publication draws extensively on information provided by DIMIA. This continued cooperation is very much appreciated; without it, the statistics published would not be available. Information received by the ABS is treated in strict confidence as required by the Census and Statistics Act 1905.