TRA: lipstick on a data pig

I struggle increasingly with how to deal with the National Visitor Survey (NVS and International Visitor Survey (IVS) from Tourism Research Australia (TRA). After further delays and confused communication the latest the latest results for both year to September 2018 were released last week.

Most disappointing was that there is still no purpose of visit data for the IVS. That is now a year where this has not been able to be provided despite ABS posting the relevant benchmark data with qualifying comment in the monthly overseas arrivals and departures series. I don’t see much point to the data without it.

As always the error margins when we get down to regional level always go missing in commentary. Here are NVS domestic visitor numbers for TTNQ with a  +/- 7.7% excel error bar based on information from TRA and on the most recent visitor numbers. this is a 95% confidence interval or 19 in 20 that it is within the range. Also domestic numbers from Cairns Airport.

nvs q3_18_1

I really didn’t expect the excel trend correlation here to be so close. I went for 7 years because data before that includes some extreme conniptions around the GFC and also some anomalous airport data around then.

These are not the same series and not meant to be the same. Domestic airport includes locals and also the greatest source of international arrivals. The trend though should correlate and it does, or at lease not be uncorrelated. Should be looked at in the context of growth which is what matters.

nvs q3_18_2

This is annual growth for TTNQ and dang isn’t it going gangbusters up double digits. That’s fine and usually the way we should look at stuff. However recent growth has obviously been significantly volatile compared to airport domestic. A problem with growth with volatile data like this is that it amplifies the statistical volatility.  So lets include annual growth compared to the previous quarter.

nvs q3_18_3

This is annual growth for the year to the current quarter compared with annual growth to the previous quarter rather than to the corresponding previous year. Meanwhile annual passenger growth at Cairns Airport while remaining just positive compared to the previous corresponding year have been declining on a rolling annual numbers basis (monthly or quarterly) since March for both domestic and international.

That hasn’t happened since the GFC aftermath in 2009/2010 albeit a lesser magnitude. December numbers from the airport shouldn’t be far away.


Post this week in AFR also of interest: Sydney Airport risks hit from Chinese tourism slowdown



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