8635.0.55.003 - Information Paper: Future changes to Tourist Accommodation, Australia, June 2012  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 28/06/2012   
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The ABS has been progressively replacing the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) with the new Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) as its geographic framework.

The purpose of this article is to provide information about how the ASGS will be implemented in the Survey of Tourist Accommodation (STA), and includes information to assist users to transition to this change.

What is the ASGS?

The ASGS is the framework for understanding and interpreting the geographical context of statistics published by the ABS. It brings all the regions for which the ABS publishes statistics within the one framework and will be used for the collection and dissemination of all geographically classified statistics. As a whole, the ASGS represents a more comprehensive, flexible and consistent way of defining Australia's statistical geography than the ASGC. For more information on the ASGS please refer to the ABS website at www.abs.gov.au/geography.

Why is the ASGS being introduced to the STA?

All ABS collections are transitioning to the ASGS by 2013. The ASGS addresses some of the shortcomings of the ASGC in that:

  • it brings all the geographic regions used by the ABS into the one framework and now includes Non-ABS structures (such as Tourism Regions) which are not defined by the ABS but which are important to users of ABS statistics
  • the ABS structures will remain stable between each cycle of the Census, although Tourism Regions (a Non-ABS structure) will continue to be reviewed on an annual basis
  • the regions at each level of the ASGS ABS structures are more consistent in population size
  • the regions at each level of the ASGS ABS structures are based on the idea of a functional area and are built around whole official gazetted localities

What level of geography will be available?

Statistical Area Level 2

Under the ASGS, small area data will be produced at Statistical Area Level 2 (SA2) and will replace Statistical Local Area (SLA) data. To assist with this transition, there will be a dual release of small area data for the four quarters of 2012. Data will be released at both the SLA level (using ASGC 2011) and at the SA2 level (ASGS). As backcasting of historical STA data onto the ASGS is not possible, the dual release will allow users to continue with an ASGC time series for a 12 month period, whilst beginning a new ASGS time series at the same time.

Tourism Region

Tourism Regions (TRs) will change to be constructed from allocations of whole SA2s rather than whole SLAs. Unlike SLAs which changed every year, SA2s will be reviewed only once every five years, therefore making these data more stable over time. Futhermore, SA2s are in general smaller than SLAs and, as they represent functional areas of regional towns, the SA2 based TRs are a better geographical representation of underlying social and economic interactions than the SLAs based TRs.

As TRs are defined each year by Tourism Research Australia (TRA) in consultation with State and Territory Tourism organisations, TR boundaries and names may still change each year as a result of this consultation.

A Statistical Geography Fact Sheet has been produced for Tourism Regions and how they fit into the ASGS. This contains further information on the ASGS which may be useful, and is available for download from the Statistical Geography Portal on the ABS website.

Local Government Area

Under the ASGC, Local Government Areas (LGAs) were made up of one or more SLAs. As the lowest level of geography available for the STA under the ASGC was SLA, it was possible to produce LGA level data by aggregating selected SLAs. Under the ASGS, a relationship does not exist between LGAs and SA2s. As SA2 is the lowest level of geography now available for the STA, it is no longer possible to produce LGA level data. As a result, the selected LGA data series which was produced for the STA will be discontinued. Similarly, data for the special area of 'Brisbane City Core' will also be discontinued.

When is the ASGS being released for the STA?

The ASGS will become the geographical framework for the STA from the March quarter 2012 and will affect all STA releases which contain small area data. STA data at the Australia and state/territory level will not be affected by the move to the ASGS. The first release of STA small area data based on the ASGS will be on 6 July 2012 in the following data releases:
  • Tourist Accommodation, Small Area Data, New South Wales - Australian Capital Territory (cat. no. 8635.1.55.001 - 8635.8.55.001)
  • Tourist Accommodation, Small Area Data, Australia (8635.0.55.002)

What is available to assist in transitioning to the ASGS?

As a result of the move to the ASGS, Tourism Region boundaries for 2012 will change more than usual. For some TRs these changes are minimal, while for others the changes are more significant. To assist with understanding the changes to TR's which have been introduced through the introduction of the ASGS, two tourism specific products have been developed:
  1. Overlay maps of 2010 TR (ASGC) and 2011 TR (ASGS) boundaries for each state have been produced to provide a visual picture of the changes. These are available from the Downloads tab.
  2. A datacube is available from the Downloads tab which compares 2010 TRs (ASGC) with 2011 TRs (ASGS) in terms of numbers of establishments in each region. STA data from December quarter 2011 was used to undertake a comparison of which establishments in the December quarter 2011 would move to a new TR as a result of the transition to the ASGS. This exercise showed that although geographic boundaries may have changed, in many instances this boundary change has not resulted in a change to the establishments which are contained within a particular Tourism Region.

The first spreadsheet in the datacube contains a list of TRs where the location of the establishments is directly comparable for the old and the new Tourism Region (62 TRs). The second spreadsheet provides a list of TRs where the location of the establishments is not comparable and provides a detailed explanation of the changes which have occurred (18 TRs).

The ABS is also making an extensive range of correspondences available to assist with the implementation of the new statistical geography. Those of particular relevance for STA users will be '2011 SLA to SA2' and 'SA2 to LGA' correpondences. A complete list of correspondences which will be available and the dates they will be released are available from the Statistical Geography Portal on the ABS website, or by emailing geography@abs.gov.au.

Further information

For further information on Tourism Accommodation statistics, including implementation of the ASGS in the Tourist Accommodation collection or changes to outputs, please contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070. For information related to the ASGS see the geography portal www.abs.gov.au/geography or contact the Geography section via email at geography@abs.gov.au.