About the Tourism Satellite Account
Tourism is an industry that cuts across many sectors of the Australian economy – retail trade, accommodation and food services, transport and arts and recreation services being the most obvious. As tourists consume goods and services which are sourced from multiple industries in the economy, the tourism industry does not fit consistently within the conventional framework used to calculate measures of economic activity, such as the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ Australian System of National Accounts. For this reason, the tourism satellite account (TSA) was created to aggregate tourism-related contributions arising from different sectors in the economy, and to report on the value of tourism to the national economy in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Gross Value Added (GVA), exports, consumption and employment.
Challenges and opportunities
Tourism is a major export earner for Australia, a source of employment for hundreds of thousands of workers and a key driver of growth in the economy. Unlike many other industries that are concentrated in geographic pockets, the benefits of tourism are widespread, with almost half of all expenditure going into regional Australia. Tourism has been identified as one of five supergrowth sectors that will drive new jobs and new growth in the economy over the next decade. With the mining boom behind us, tourism now has the potential to be Australia’s most rapidly growing industry.
Underpinning these positive prospects is our proximity to growing Asian markets, where middle-class populations are expected to swell fivefold over the next twenty years, adding to demand for international travel. The global tourism market is, however, highly competitive, with more than 190 national tourism organisations competing for international visitors. Activity within the industry is also highly vulnerable to international events, economic uncertainties and levels of traveller risk – both real and perceived. Nevertheless, with its economic and political stability, Australia is able to provide a safe and secure environment for investors, operators and travellers.
To ensure that Australia continues to remain an attractive destination for overseas visitors, and to keep pace with forecast increases in demand, continued (and greater) investment in hotels, infrastructure, attractions and training is needed. For this reason, the Australian Government and industry have implemented Tourism 2020 – a strategy to grow the industry. At a national level, the TSA measures the direct impact on GDP, GVA, employment and exports of the tourism industry resulting from the goods and services consumed by tourists in the Australian economy. For example:
- a tourist buying breakfast from a resort
- the hospitality worker serving the tourist
- the coach operator taking the tourist on a day trip.
However, the indirect effects of tourism accruing to the farmer sending produce to a resort or a café, and the service station selling diesel to a coach company are out of scope of the Australian TSA. As the effects of tourism are widespread geographically, Tourism Research Australia (TRA) also produce tourism-related economic estimates consistent with the National TSA for all states and territories, in its State Tourism Satellite Accounts publication. These state-level accounts also capture the indirect impacts of tourism and are available at www.tra.gov.au.
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