Double fail on IVS

The delayed International Visitor Survey from Tourism Research Australia was released today. There are two significant issues. The first fail is that TNQ and Queensland didn’t do very well: IVS is horrible for TNQ; falls to record low share of market

The second is that there was a fail with a critical part of the data which is not available:

Please note that the International Visitor Survey (IVS) results for the March quarter 2018 are preliminary and do not include any data relating to purpose of visit. This is because the quality of the main purpose of visit component of the passenger data supplied to TRA by the Department of Home Affairs has been identified as a concern. There are no issues with the survey collection.

To produce a purpose of visit measure for the IVS, Tourism Research Australia (TRA) uses data collected from the incoming passenger cards of international visitors to Australia. Work is currently in progress to resolve these issues and it is likely that a back cast of TRA data will be required. TRA will release revised estimates once a solution has been implemented.

Minister Potato Head’s new super Department of Home Affairs looks to have dropped the ball. We can only hope they are more competent in assessing purpose of visit when it really matters for national security.

The ‘purpose of visit’ data really is essential to any proper understanding of the IVS. This is broken down into categories Holiday, VFR (visiting friends & rellies), Business, Employment, Education, Other in that descending proportional national order. There are difference between states and regions in this mix obviously. The holiday proportion on the now most recent IVS data for year to December 2017 is Queensland 70%, NSW 59%, Victoria 54%.

Consequently, it’s really hard to judge what’s going on if this breakdown of the data is not available. However don’t think that’s going to alter concerns about the total trend decline in market share for both Queensland and TNQ as displayed in the previous link to Conus. This is the best context to look at what we have.

Always have to remember that just like all survey data there are increasing margins of error, or should that be lower confidence intervals, as we work down through the smaller regions. There are two things that stand out to me here in Queensland tropical regions.

  1. March quarter 2018 IVS data is annual for the year. This takes out the previous March quarter 2017 which is generally accepted as a complete flop on Chinese New Year for that period in TNQ. Consequently this negative result seems contrary to perceptions.
  2. Whitsunday was also unimpressive and flat for the year. However Cyclone Debbie did a dead hit right at the end of March 2017. Travelling south through there at the beginning of March this year the local ABC was discussing reopening of key island resorts a year later. Surprised IVS would have held up even that well. However this is where we get seriously into sample size and confidence levels with Whitsunday visitation less than a third of TNQ.
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