Tourism Satellite Accounts confirm 2017-18 was a good year for TNQ…but don’t tell us much else

TRA released their annual Tourism Satellite Accounts overnight for the 2017-18 financial year. There’s a bunch of quite interesting (although obviously already almost 18 months out-of-date) stuff in the release which can be found in full here.

Looking at the higher level data we see that the tourism sector generated $57.3 bn towards Gross Domestic Product, which was an increase of 7.1% y/y; significantly better growth than the +2.5% GDP registered by the economy as a whole in the second quarter of 2018. Employment in the sector increased by 4.6% over the year to 646K (again, faster growth than Trend employment which was running at 2.6% in June 2018).

In Queensland the data shows Gross State Product from the tourism sector was $27.3 bn for the year; an increase of 7.2% y/y again much faster growth than QLD’s total GSP which grew at 4.2% in the 2017-18 year. Employment was up 6.2% in the sector to 235,890.

Tropical North QLD also had a good year in 2017-18 driven by a very strong domestic sector. Gross Regional Product from tourism grew 9.5% to $3.0 bn while employment was up 8.3% to 28K. However, what the data doesn’t show, and the media releases from the State Govt (see here) don’t want to mention is the slowdown that the TNQ region has seen since then.

The quarterly National and International Visitor Surveys from TRA for the second quarter of 2019 suggest that total tourism expenditure in TNQ grew by just 2.0% for the year (barely keeping up with inflation). While total tourism expenditure is a very different measure to GRP, the chart below makes clear that the two will (not surprisingly) move in a similar manner. It would appear very likely that once we do see the Satellite Accounts for the 2018-19 year there will be little improvement in the GRP figure and, therefore, also little change in employment numbers either.

You can read our commentary on the latest TNQ tourism data here.

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