Tourism Satellite Accounts: quarterly tourism labour statistics, Australia, experimental estimates

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Experimental estimates of quarterly tourism employment and jobs to help explain the impacts of COVID-19 on tourism activity.

Reference period
June 2020

Key statistics

In June quarter 2020, there were 611,700 tourism filled jobs: This represents

  • a decrease of 15.1% (-109,000) from June quarter 2019 compared to a 5.1% (-736,400) fall in the whole economy
  • a decrease of 12.9% (-90,800) from March quarter 2020 compared to a 6.1% (-877,700) fall in the whole economy
  • the lowest number of tourism filled jobs since June quarter 2014
  • 4.5% of filled jobs in the economy, the lowest proportion on record
Movement in tourism filled jobs by tourism industry, percentage change, original series (a)
Mar-19 to Jun-19Jun-19 to Sep-19Sep-19 to Dec-19Dec-19 to Mar-20Mar-20 to Jun-20Jun-19 to Jun-20
Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services-
Clubs, pubs, taverns and bars5.9-4.24.3-6.9-9.3-15.6
Rail transport0.00.0-6.90.0-3.7-10.3
Road transport and transport equipment rental-6.24.2-1.71.0-9.4-6.2
Air, water and other transport-
Travel agency and information centre services6.6-1.4-3.3-3.1-11.1-17.9
Cultural services-
Casinos and other gambling services4.9-2.30.0-2.4-12.2-16.3
Sports and recreation services2.5-4.12.9-17.8-25.5-39.7
Retail trade-1.7-1.54.9-2.5-9.6-9.0
Education and training5.2-0.5-1.2-2.4-3.9-7.7
All other industries0.
Tourism total-
Whole economy total0.60.41.4-0.8-6.1-5.1

(a) Change on preceding quarter, except for the last column which shows the change between the current quarter and the corresponding quarter of the previous year.

Key COVID-19 dates

  • 20 March: Australia's international borders closed to all non-citizens and non-residents.
  • 21 March: Domestic travel restrictions began. Tasmania first state to require people entering to self-isolate for 14 days from arrival.
  • 22 March: Prime Minister announced Stage 2 lock down changes, which were progressively implemented.
  • 30 March: Prime Minister announced JobKeeper program.
  • First week of May: JobKeeper payment from ATO commenced.
  • Mid-May: Initial progressive easing of social distancing and trading restrictions commenced.

Impact of bushfires and COVID-19

The bushfires followed immediately by the COVID-19 pandemic had an unprecedented impact on the Australian economy with tourism particularly affected. This section looks at how tourism has been impacted over the period by comparing estimates of tourism filled jobs at the end of December 2019 with those at the end of June 2020. 

Filled jobs

All references to "jobs" are referring to "filled jobs" unless otherwise specified. For information on the various measures of jobs (filled job, Labour Account main job and Labour Account secondary job), please refer to the Glossary in Methodology.

Overall impacts

  • Tourism jobs peaked at 748,200 in December 2019 and are now at the lowest level (611,700) since June 2014.
  • More females work in tourism than males so there were more jobs lost by females with a reduction of 88,100 (-21.5%) jobs compared to a fall of 48,300 (-14.3%) for males.
  • While there are more full-time workers in tourism than part-time, part-time jobs were impacted more with the loss of 87,800 (-24.0%) jobs compared to 48,600 (-12.7%) full-time jobs.

Tourism hit disproportionately

Tourism has been more impacted by the bushfires and COVID-19 than the economy as a whole. Results show:

  • Tourism jobs fell 18.2% (136,500 jobs) compared to 6.8% (992,300 jobs) in the whole economy.
  • Tourism accounted for 4.5% of total jobs in June 2020, yet it accounted for 13.8% of job losses of the whole economy. 
  • The proportion of tourism jobs in the total economy fell to a record low.

(a) Quarterly proportion of tourism jobs in the economy compared with an average proportion of jobs in the economy over the 15 years prior to June 2020. 

Industry analysis

All tourism industries were impacted:

  • On average, in the 10 years prior to 2020, jobs grew annually in all tourism industries except for rail transport which showed no change.
  • In 2020, the number of jobs fell in all tourism industries.
Change in number of filled jobs ('000), June quarters
10 year average2020
Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services7.6-34.2
Clubs, pubs, taverns and bars1.5-9.0
Rail transport0.0-0.3
Road transport and transport equipment rental0.7-1.8
Air, water and other transport0.2-2.4
Travel agency and information centre services0.9-6.6
Cultural services0.3-2.4
Casinos and other gambling services0.1-0.7
Sports and recreation services0.8-11.5
Retail trade1.0-10.5
Education and training2.4-5.0
Total tourism characteristic and connected industries16.2-108.4
All other industries0.3-0.6
Total tourism filled jobs16.5-109.0

Tourism industry

From June quarter 2019 to June quarter 2020, the tourism industries with the largest changes in the number of jobs were: 

  • Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services: -34,200 jobs (-15.6%)
  • Accommodation: -24,000 jobs (-26.5%) 
  • Sports and recreation services: -11,500 jobs (-39.7%)

Status in employment

From June quarter 2019 to June quarter 2020, tourism jobs changed by: 

  •  -7.5% (-27,100) full-time jobs
  • -22.7% (-81,800) part-time jobs 


From June quarter 2019 to June quarter 2020, tourism jobs changed by: 

  • -12.2% (-40,300) for males
  • -17.6% (-68,700) for females

Sex by status in employment

In June quarter 2020:

  • part-time female jobs showed the largest annual decrease of 24.0% (-47,700 jobs) 
  • part-time female jobs also showed the largest quarterly decrease of 19.9% (-37,500 jobs)
Tourism jobs by sex by status in employment - percentage change
                                Male                               Female
 Mar-20 to Jun-20Jun-19 to Jun-20Mar-20 to Jun-20Jun-19 to Jun-20



This new TSA publication contains experimental estimates of quarterly tourism labour statistics. The ABS welcomes comments and suggestions from users regarding this release. If you are interested in contributing, please contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070, or email

Data downloads

Data cubes

Data files

Previous catalogue number

This release previously used catalogue number 5249.0.55.005.

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