The release of preliminary Overseas Arrivals and Departure (OAD) data today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics is welcome but industry is urging all government agencies to cooperate to ensure the data series gets back on track.
This is the first time the OADs have been released since November last year, after a change in passenger processing cards by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection created difficulties in collecting the data. Today’s release is only a preliminary estimate of the OADs from October to December 2014, with the data series not formally getting back on track until July.
Margy Osmond, Chief Executive of peak national industry body Tourism & Transport Forum (TTF) said “While we are pleased the release of preliminary data has begun, these significant delays have highlighted the importance of regular data for the Australian tourism industry and for investors.
“We can’t ask people to invest in Australia if we don’t have current, accurate data that confirms the value of their investment.
“Similarly, we should expect that the government will allocate funding to the areas where it is most needed and where it is clear that investment is delivering real outcomes. Without recent, accurate data this is no more than guess work.
“The ABS has already seen reductions in its budget, leading to important research like the Survey of Tourist Accommodation being discontinued. Any further budget reduction could see critical research taken off the table and Australia becoming an investment black spot. Ahead of the upcoming Federal Budget, we urge the government to protect funding for these important research tasks.”