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Tourism GDP remains steady at $32.8 billion.



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Martin Ferguson, AM, MP  Minister for Resources and Energy  Minister for Tourism 

4 June 2010 TOURISM GDP REMAINS STEADY AT $32.8 BILLION

The Minister for Tourism, the Hon Martin Ferguson MP has welcomed the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics Tourism Satellite Account, which shows that tourism gross domestic product (GDP) remained steady at $32.8 billion for 2008-09.

Global Financial Crisis and the impacts of H1N1 influenza (swine flu) combined to reduce global travel by four per cent throughout 2008-09. Short-term visitor arrivals to Australia in 2008-09 were down by 1.6 per cent on 2007-08, while the number of domestic overnight trips fell by 7.2 per cent. However, over the period 1997-98 to 2008-09, tourism GDP has grown on average by 5.4 per cent.

Last year, Tourism exports grew by 5.3 per cent to $23.5 billion to become Australia's leading services export earner and sixth largest export sector.

Minister Ferguson said: "The contribution tourism makes to total employment is significant. Tourism directly employs 486,200 people in Australia, representing 4.5 per cent of the Australian workforce. Over the period 1997-98 to 2008-09, tourism employment has grown

by an average annual rate of 1.4 per cent."

"The industry has worked hard to manage their workforce during the Global Financial Crisis by switching part of their workforce from full-time to part-time, retaining their human capital through the downturn for when the inevitable economic recovery occurs.

Despite overall tourism employment declining by 1400 jobs, employment in cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services has increased by 4.1 per cent. "This positive employment figure reflects the value the sector got from the economic stimulus provided by the Government during this difficult trading period.

This release is the first under revised international standards set out by the United Nations World Tourism Organization. Notable changes include (i) only attributing the value of the transaction between those businesses who have a direct relationship with the visitor. This approach is consistent with national accounts and balance of payments practices; (ii) a more accurate migration system whose goal is to capture the true value of longer staying visitors, namely education visitors; and (iii) alignment to revised macro economic statistical standards (such as Australia and New Zealand Statistical Industry Classification 2006 and System of National Accounts 2008).

These revised standards improve the comparability between the tourism industry and the wider economy as well as international comparability to countries such as New Zealand and Canada who also compile Tourism Satellite Accounts.

"This comprehensive set of data and the developments in this year's release is consistent with the National Long Term Tourism Strategy's goal to provide robust data to support strategic priorities of industry, government, and investors," Minister Ferguson said.

Copies of the Tourism Satellite Account are available at: http://www.abs.gov.au

Media contact: Bindi Gove - 0406 644 913

Summary highlights:

Tourism Satellite Account (2008-09, current prices)

GDP: In 2008-09, direct tourism GDP decreased 0.4 per cent (or $135 million) to $32.8 billion. Over the same period, the Australian economy grew at a higher rate (up 6.0 per cent). This resulted in tourism's share of total GDP decreasing 0.2 percentage points to 2.6 per cent.

Domestic tourism GDP decreased 2.2 per cent (or $522 million) to $23.4 billion in 2008 09. Domestic tourism was responsible for 1.9 per cent of total direct tourism GDP.

International tourism GDP increased 4.3 per cent (or $386 million) to $9.5 billion in 2008-09. International tourism was responsible for 0.8 per cent of total direct tourism GDP.

Over the period 1997-98 to 2008-09, direct tourism GDP has increased $14.5 billion (79.0 per cent, or average annual rate of 7.2 per cent).

GVA: In 2008-09, direct tourism GVA decreased 0.3 per cent (or $86 million) to $30.0 billion. Direct GVA for main tourism industries: Accommodation decreased 0.7 per cent to $5.3 billion; Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services decreased 3.2 per cent to $3.3 billion; Air, water and other transport decreased 5.7 per cent to $4.7 billion; Other retail trade decreased 1.6 per cent to $3.8 billion; and Education and training increased 14.5 per cent to $2.3 billion.

Employment: In 2008-09, direct tourism employment decreased 0.3 per cent (or 1,400 jobs) to 486,200. At the same time, total employment increased 1.2 per cent. This resulted in tourism's share of total employment decreasing 0.1 percentage points to 4.5 per cent.

Direct employment in main tourism industries: Accommodation decreased 6.8 per cent to 68,000; Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services increased 4.1 per cent to 123,400; Air, water and other transport increased 2.0 per cent to 35,500; Retail trade decreased 1.7 per cent to 96,900; and Education and training increased 1.0 per cent to 31,600.

Consumption: Tourism consumption decreased 1.0 per cent, from $92.9 billion to $92.0 billion.

Trade: Tourism exports increased 3.9 per cent to $23.5 billion. At the same time, total Australian exports rose 21.9 per cent. Tourism imports rose by a lower 3.2 per cent to $27.4 billion. As a consequence, tourism trade was in deficit of $3.9 billion. This follows a trade deficit of $3.9 billion in 2007-08.