3401.0.55.001 - Short-term Visitor Arrival Estimates, Australia, Mar 2008  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 16/04/2008   
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1 This publication contains modelled estimates of short-term visitor arrivals to Australia, including a breakdown by country of usual residence for selected major regions and countries, based on passport transactions for the current month and past arrival trends from passenger cards.

2 These estimates provide an early indication of short-term visitor arrival movements for the reference month, prior to final data becoming available. 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, early estimates for short-term visitor arrivals (termed 'preliminary' estimates) were published in the monthly publication Overseas Arrivals and Departures, Australia (cat. no. 3401.0). The decision to produce this monthly electronic release of early modelled estimates followed feedback on the ABS Demography Working Paper 2003/4 - A New Dissemination Strategy for Overseas Arrival and Departure Statistics. From June 2003 until December 2003, this publication was titled Short-term Visitor Arrivals to Australia, Preliminary (cat. no. 3401.0.55.001).


4 The modelled estimates of short-term visitor arrivals presented in this publication for the reference month are based on data provided by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) Travel and Immigration Processing System (TRIPS).

5 Final estimates of short-term visitor arrivals are based on incoming passenger cards, completed by persons arriving in Australia. Length of stay data, which are used to categorise travellers, are based on declared intentions rather than actual events. 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, transit passengers who pass through Australia but are not cleared for entry, passengers on pleasure cruises commencing and finishing in Australia and unauthorised arrivals.


7 The classification of countries in this publication is the Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC). For more detailed information refer to the ABS publication Standard Australian Classification of Countries (cat. no. 1269.0).


8 The TRIPS produces a limited range of data, including country of citizenship. To produce estimates by country of usual residence, 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.

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 presented in this publication.

10 The statistics in this publication have been rounded to the nearest 100. As a result sums of the components may not add exactly to totals. Analysis is based on unrounded data and therefore calculations made on rounded data may differ from those published.


11 Seasonally adjusted and trend estimates of short-term overseas visitor arrivals are shown in tables 1 and 2 of the Main Features.

12 Seasonally adjusted estimates are derived by estimating and removing systematic calendar related effects from the original series. In the short-term visitor arrival 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 November 2004 ABS has introduced an improved method for removing trading day effects from seasonally adjusted estimates. Corrections for trading day effects are now applied as prior corrections to the original estimates, rather than being applied within the seasonal adjustment process. This is now consistent with the treatment of any corrections for large extremes, changes in level, changes in seasonal pattern, Easter, and other effects. This change in methodology will result in revisions to seasonally adjusted and trend estimates. 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 and short-term resident departures in 1976.

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 of Concurrent Seasonal Adjustment into the Retail Trade Series (cat. no. 8514.0).

15 More recently, the ABS implemented improved methods of producing seasonally adjusted estimates, focused on the application of Autoregressive Integrated Moving Average (ARIMA) modelling techniques. The revision properties of the seasonally adjusted and trend estimates can be improved by the use of ARIMA modelling. ARIMA modelling relies on the characteristics of the series being analysed to project future period data. The projected values are temporary, intermediate values, that are only used internally to improve the estimation of the seasonal factors. The projected data do not affect the original estimates and are discarded at the end of the seasonal adjustment process. The OAD collection uses ARIMA modelling where appropriate for individual time series. The ARIMA model is assessed as part of the annual reanalysis and following the 2006-07 annual reanalysis 96% of time series use an ARIMA model. For more information on the details of ARIMA modelling see 'Feature article: Use of ARIMA modelling to reduce revisions' in the October 2004 issue of Australian Economic Indicators (cat. no. 1350.0).

16 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.

17 The trend estimates of short-term overseas visitor arrivals 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.

18 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).

19 For further information on the seasonal adjustment process contact the Assistant Director, Time Series Analysis on Canberra (02) 6252 6345 or by email at <time.series.analysis@abs.gov.au>.


20 Recent publications released by the National Migrant Statistics Unit (ABS) include:

  • Guide to Migrant Statistical Sources, 2007 (Edition 1) ( cat. no. 3414.0);
  • Migrant Data Matrices, 2007 ( cat. no. 3415.0); and
  • Migrant Statistics News ( cat. no. 3413.0).

21 Other ABS products which may be of interest to users include:
  • Australian Demographic Statistics ( cat. no. 3101.0) - issued quarterly;
  • Australian Historical Population Statistics ( cat. no. 3105.0.65.001);
  • Demography Working Papers, ABS web site, <https://www.abs.gov.au>;
  • Information Paper: Demographic Estimates and Projections: Concepts, Sources and Methods ( cat. no. 3228.0);
  • Overseas Arrivals and Departures, Australia ( cat. no. 3401.0) - issued monthly;
  • Migration, Australia ( cat. no. 3412.0) - issued annually.

22 Related statistics are also published by DIAC, available on the department's web site <http://www.immi.gov.au>:
  • Immigration Update;
  • Population Flows - Immigration Aspects; and
  • Settler Arrivals.

23 As well as the statistics included in this and related publications, additional demographic information is available on the ABS web site, < https://www.abs.gov.au>; click Themes, then under People click on Demography. Users can also access the full range of electronic ABS data free of charge on the ABS web site.


24 The ABS may have other relevant data available on request. Generally, a charge is made for providing this information. Inquiries should be made to the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.

25 The ABS also issues a daily Release Advice on the website which details products to be released in the week ahead.

26 The range of statistics available from data modelled on passport movements and past arrival trends is limited to what has been included in this publication.

27 The following variables are available for overseas arrival and departure data:

  • Age
  • Airport/port of arrival/departure
  • Arrival/departure date
  • Australian residents:
      • Country spent/intend to spend most time abroad
      • Intended/actual time away from Australia
      • State or territory of intended address/state or territory of residence
  • Category of travel
  • Citizenship (nationality)
  • Country of birth
  • Country of embarkation/disembarkation
  • Intention to live in Australia for next 12 months (not available for short-term movements)
  • Marital status (not available for Australian and New Zealand citizens)
  • Occupation (not available for short-term movements)
  • Overseas visitors:
      • Country of residence
      • Intended/actual length of stay
      • Main reason for journey
      • State or territory of intended address/in which most time was spent
  • Permanent migrants:
      • Previous/future country of residence
      • State or territory of intended address/lived
  • Sex

28 Statistics of overseas arrivals and departures and related data are also published regularly by DIAC (see the Department’s quarterly publication, Immigration Update) and by the Tourism Research Australia (on international travel and tourism).


29 This publication draws extensively on information provided by DIAC. 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.