Issues with OAD & IVS

There has been an issue with the International Visitor Survey (IVS) around purpose of visit data. This hasn’t been provided for recent quarters with the most recent data for the year to December 2017. The IVS requires benchmark data on this from ABS Overseas Arrivals & Departures (OAD). TRA have indicated issues with this as the reason purpose of visit data has been withheld in the IVS. The ABS explains:

In July 2017, the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs introduced changes to the incoming passenger card. The change was to capture the main reason for journey for both residents returning, and visitors arriving in Australia. The ABS has noted changes in the distribution of responses to the question on main reason for journey for short-term visitor arrivals in recent months, notably an increase in the number of persons reporting that the main reason for travel was visiting friends and relatives and a decline in the number of persons reporting the main reason was a holiday. From investigations by Home Affairs changes were made to their process of coding main reason for journey from the new incoming passenger card, and to further assist in improving quality the imputation for main reason for journey was reviewed and improved by the ABS.

Clear as mud. Holiday and VFR (visiting friends & relatives) are overwhelmingly the dominant categories for short term (< 1 year) arrivals. Here is what it looks like over the last 5 years or so in terms of rolling annual growth for these categories;

OAD September 1

The inverse correlation since 2015 is just a bit curious. Where this becomes interesting is that Queensland appears to have recently had something of a revival in arrivals growth for state of intended stay in the ABS data mostly at the expense of NSW:

OAD September 2

The green & gold snake there is Straya. However, short term arrivals in Queensland are more heavily weighted to the holiday sector than other major states. Category by state only comes with the IVS and not the ABS data. IVS category share by state data year to December 2017 for major categories:

NSW          Vic          Qld
Holiday                   58.9%       53.5%      70.0%
VFR                          27.2%       32.1%      24.0%
Business                  11.3%       11.2%       6.9%
Employment             2.3%        2.2%       1.9%
Education                 5.4%        6.3%        4.1%

Yet, growth in Queensland has rebounded while the holiday sector has been flat for Australian arrivals? Should be interesting when we finally get the IVS numbers from TRA.

Note: State totals sum to more than 100% related to note b in table 4:  “b. Individual purpose totals will not sum to the State total as international visitors may have visited more than one region within the state for different purposes while in Australia”

Previous post: Some quick graphs on O/S A&D



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