Tourism Satellite Accounts

Tourism Satellite Accounts 2014-2015 were released this week. Key results:

  • Direct tourism GDP increased 5.3 per cent (or $2.4 billion) to $47.5 billion. Over the same period, the Australian economy grew at a slower rate (up 1.6 per cent). Tourism’s share of total GDP increased strongly to 3.0 per cent.
  • Domestic tourism GDP increased 4.1 per cent (or $1.4 billion) to $34.2 billion, with domestic tourism responsible for 72 per cent of total direct tourism GDP.
  • International tourism GDP increased 8.3 per cent (or $1.0 billion) to $13.3 billion, with international tourism responsible for 28 per cent of total direct tourism GDP.
  • Direct tourism employment increased 6.3 per cent (or 34,300 jobs) to 580,800. At the same time, total employment in Australia increased 1.8 per cent. This resulted in tourism’s share of total employment increasing to 5.0 per cent.
  • More than half (54 per cent) of persons employed in tourism were female. The number of females working in tourism increased 6.1 per cent to 313,700. The number of males employed in tourism increased by 6.5 per cent to 267,100
  • Tourism hours worked were 5.2 per cent higher than in 2013–14.
  • Total tourism consumption in Australia increased 4.3 per cent (or $4.9 billion) to $121 billion. Domestic visitor consumption increased 2.7 per cent (or by $2.4 billion) to $90.5 billion and International visitor consumption (or tourism exports) increased 9.0 per cent to $30.7 billion.
  • Tourism exports represent around 9.6 per cent share of total Australian exports. Tourism imports (or consumption made by Australians when travelling overseas) decreased 3.6 per cent to $34.5 billion. As a consequence, the tourism trade deficit halved to $3.8 billion from $7.6 billion in 2013–14.


ABS: 5249.0 – Australian National Accounts: Tourism Satellite Account, 2014-15
TRA: Tourism Satellite Account 2014-2015



Cairns Hospital scores for efficiency

The MyHospitals website has today posted a new report and data on Hospital Performance: Costs of acute admitted patients in public hospitals from 2011–12 to 2013–14

The report covers hospitals in the ‘major metropolitan’ and ‘major regional’ categories. Among the ‘major regionals’ Cairns scored better than average with the lowest cost per NWAU (national weighted activity unit) of the Queensland regionals reported for the most recent period (FY 2013-2014).


I don’t pretend any knowledge of hospital economics so wont delve into the detail of the methodology but it’s probably important to note this caveat:

“The Performance Authority makes no determination that a hospital with a higher or lower cost or increased or decreased efficiency delivers better or worse care or patient outcomes,”

Also on the health front ABS yesterday released data on sugar consumption related to demographics with some adverse implications for both Queensland and the regions, unless you are a grower I guess: Consumption of added sugars exceeds recommendations.

Airport over the moon in March

A month ago I questioned some CairnsWatch trend passenger growth numbers for Cairns Airport. This month the airport reported numbers for March well in excess of even that trend. International was up a very impressive 36.3% but more significant was domestic up 12.9%.

That doesn’t invalidate my comments re the CairnsWatch trend on the numbers available at the time. There are also a number of seasonal factors playing out in this first half of the year. A blindingly obvious aspect overlooked last month was an extra leap year day in February. The Qantas report for that month attributes 3.6% to this which looks close to a pro rata for the extra day. Apply that to the Cairns Airport numbers and February becomes a weaker month with domestic growth significantly below trend.

Similarly the March numbers have been boosted by an earlier Easter and school holidays. Cairns Airport commentary has 2% – 3% of domestic growth attributed to this. Just like Chinese New Year the moon has much to answer for when it comes to seasonal analysis of monthly statistics.

That March number is still very positive and is also backed up again by good numbers elsewhere including above trend growth at Sydney Airport for the month. Then a week ago Qantas threw a surprise into an otherwise positive outlook. Qantas put out their March passenger report early and suggested a softer outlook had emerged at the end of March and with forward bookings so would reduce planned capacity growth: Qantas facing profit drop after shock cuts to capacity;  Qantas and Virgin Australia airfares are falling after last year’s jumps

Something of a shock and Qantas shares were hammered down almost 20% on ASX this week.   Jetstar services to Cairns seem to have been among the changes Jetstar cuts flights by about 3 per week to Cairns. Some international capacity has also been switched from their LA route to Singapore and Hong Kong.

Among these seasonal changes we also have a long weekend this year around Anzac Day followed by the replacement of the May Day weekend which will commence in April also. Too many things happening for any certainty on trends and the market response to Qantas may have been overdone if anything.

Charts and comparative data will be updated soon have now been updated at Cairns Airport.

March Employment Data

Travelling on the road the past week so well behind on project updates here with recent monthly and quarterly data. The March regional employment numbers from ABS were released this week with most interest probably being on the situation in Townsville.

Conus: Regional jobs data is a Tale of 2 Cities in the North

Queensland Economy Watch:  Robust SEQ economy distracts us from weakness in regions, particularly in Townsville

Will getting around to updating and expanding the Employment section in coming days and weeks now that stressful seasonal relocation is complete.

Land valuations 2016

Such has been my distraction that I missed the release of 2016 land valuations last month. I have included some links to the Valuer-General with info and initial graphs under real estate.

The residential median in Cairns was up a solid 9% on last year with valuations across all land categories in the council region up a reported 8.4%. Some comparisons with other regions revalued will be included subsequently.

This doesn’t seem to have been widely reported given it coincided with council election campaigns. Slightly surprising there wasn’t some sort of scare campaign around misunderstandings of rising land valuations and rates.

February building approvals

ABS February building approvals today for Cairns SA4 was generally more subdued than desirable with the exception of houses at the northern beaches (SA2 Cairns North). Trinity Beach – Smithfield SA2 accounted for a dominant proportion of approvals. Also noted approvals weakness in Port Douglas SA2.

Dwelling approvals chart for combined Cairns SA4 has been updated in Building Approvals. Charts and additional information will be progressively added hopefully sooner rather than later.

Analysis and commentary at Conus: Regional Building Approvals data disappoints; new Conus Trend series for QLD Regions launched


Currency complications for RBA

RBA meeting today kept the cash rate unchanged at 2% as expected. However there were some concerns expressed on the recent appreciation of the $AUD in the statement from Governor Glenn.

The Australian dollar has appreciated somewhat recently. In part, this reflects some increase in commodity prices, but monetary developments elsewhere in the world have also played a role. Under present circumstances, an appreciating exchange rate could complicate the adjustment under way in the economy.

Statement by Glenn Stevens, Governor: Monetary Policy Decision

CairnsWatch Watch

The latest monthly HTW CairnsWatch for March was out yesterday. Through the first half of last year I had some problems with the airport trend analysis: Say what?. I have the same problem again although perhaps not as extreme.

“…passenger numbers at the domestic terminal (which also include international tourists arriving on domestic flights) have increased in trend terms by 8.3%. Overall passenger numbers at Cairns Airport have grown in trend terms by 10.1% over the period from February 2015 to February 2016.”

Recent growth has been robust but I can’t see how a trend quite that high can be derived. There has been a single month (January) with domestic growth above that in the last year. Sometimes the CairnsWatch trend appears to follow rather than smooth the volatility.

Source: Cairns Airport

The trend line there is a simple 12 month moving average currently 4.6%. The 3 month average is 7.0%. Similarly the overall trend growth at CairnsWatch just looks a bit high to reconcile on current numbers.

Apart from that the most significant item of interest in this CairnsWatch is probably a move down in rental vacancy rate trends.