State Tourism Satellite Accounts are a sorry tale for QLD

Tourism Research Australia (TRA) today released their State Tourism Satellite Accounts (STSA) for the 2013-14 year. There are available for download here. The results show an industry which, although at a national level has seen growth of about 3.4%, is in decline in Queensland.

We have previously posted extensively (see here and here) on past year’s data and the way in which the results have been spun (most notably by the previous Minister for Tourism) to suggest that things were going well in the industry and that targets were being met. Now that we have confirmation of the data for the full financial year we can see that, in reality, tourism has been a sorry story. The STSA provide us with data on the impact of the tourism industry on the State’s Gross Product as well as employment. Given that the data is made available only on an annual basis we have in the past used the quarterly tourism expenditure data captured in TRA’s National and International Visitors Survey as a proxy for the State Gross Product data. The table below gives us an idea of how those comparisons stack up and, therefore, how we are travelling since June 2014 based on the latest available data for Sept 2014.

Year Ending Visitor Exp SGP
  $bn $bn
Jun-11 18.1 19.5
Jun-12 21.5 22.0
Jun-13 22.4 22.8
Jun-14 21.8 22.6
Sep-14 21.8 22.6 est

What we see is a 0.9% decline in the State Gross Product figure for tourism in QLD for 2013-14. So far (with the data for the Dec and Mar quarters yet to be released) there appears to be no sign of improvement since. Bear in mind that these figures are nominal and as such do not take into account inflation over the period (approx. 2.75% avg core inflation as at Jun 2014), as such the real decline is well in excess of 3%.

Employment in the tourism sector in the State has also bucked a long-term trend of growing. The latest data shows that the number employed in tourism fell by 9,000 over the year and as a percentage of total employees fell from 5.9% to just 5.6%. Again, we can use the ABS jobs data for Sept to estimate the tourism jobs at that time.

Year Ending Tourism Jobs as % of total Tourism Jobs
% ‘000s
Jun-11 5.5 127
Jun-12 5.8 136
Jun-13 5.9 140
Jun-14 5.6 131
Sep-14 5.6 est 130 est

We shall have to wait and see how the tourism bodies such as TQ and TTNQ (and the new State Government) attempt to present the data but we cannot see how this can be presented as anything other than a very poor score card for tourism in Queensland.

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