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3136.0 - Demography Working Paper 2003/4 - A New Dissemination Strategy for Overseas Arrivals and Departure Statistics, 2001  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 13/12/2001   
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INTRODUCTION

1 The ABS is proposing to implement a new dissemination strategy for Overseas Arrival and Departure Statistics. This Paper outlines the proposed strategy and explains how these changes meet stakeholder requests and ABS guidelines and policies. It provides the opportunity for feedback on the specific changes proposed and also on some additional OAD dissemination issues.

2 The new dissemination strategy was driven by the feedback received as a result of the ABS Demography Working Paper 2002/1 Overseas Arrivals and Departures Statistics Dissemination Plan, released in August 2002. Please see this paper for further background.

3 Comments on the present paper are required by 12 May 2003, with the view to implementing the new dissemination strategy progressively over the next six months. Comments can be sent to Olivia Agius at olivia.agius@abs.gov.au or by telephoning (02) 6252 5640.

THE PROPOSED DISSEMINATION STRATEGY

4 The ABS is proposing to introduce the following dissemination strategy for Overseas Arrivals and Departures (OAD):


5 The new electronic product will present key preliminary Short-term Visitor Arrival (STVA) figures. It is intended that this product will enable preliminary estimates to be released approximately two weeks after the reference month, improving the current release schedule by about one week. The product will also feature commentary on key points and provide a table of STVA by Country of Residence (currently table 6 in the printed publication and table 8 on the AusStats spreadsheets for 3401.0).

6 The redesigned monthly publication will contain final data only. With the exclusion of preliminary estimates, it is expected that final data will be released approximately six weeks after the reference month, improving the current schedule again by about one week. The following changes are proposed for the redesigned publication:
  1. General refocusing of the publication on short-term movements (such that 75% of the publication focuses on short-term movements, with the remaining 25% on long-term and permanent movements);
  2. Redesigned front page focusing key figures and key points on STVA and Short-term Resident Departures (STRD). This includes the removal of long-term and permanent movements from the front page, to be replaced by comments on changes in the movement of visitors from major inbound tourism markets;
  3. Dynamic Main Features that is relevant to current and emerging issues associated with international movements, including the use of summary tables and graphs in analysis;
  4. Analysis of original, seasonally adjusted and trend estimates for STVA and STRD to be included in the Main Features;
  5. A reduced set of tables for inclusion in the printed publication supplemented by a more comprehensive set of spreadsheets in AusStats (including more cross-tabulations by country of residence/destination) subject to demand. Where appropriate, tables and spreadsheets will include mean and median length of stay;
  6. Feature articles to be released on the ABS web site and a notification about the article to be included in the publication; and
  7. Conversion to the Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC) (cat. no. 1269.0).

THE PROPOSED DISSEMINATION STRATEGY AND STAKEHOLDER REQUESTS

7 Table 1 is a summary of the key requests received (as a result of the discussion paper mentioned in paragraph 2) and an account of how the proposed changes intend to address those concerns.
TABLE 1: HOW PROPOSED CHANGES MEET STAKEHOLDER REQUESTS

Stakeholder RequestProposed Change
(a) Improved timeliness of OAD data.The release schedule under the proposed dissemination strategy is an improvement of one week on the release of both preliminary and final estimates.
(b) The front page does not meet the needs of the Tourism Industry.

Suggested changes included:
  1. The difference between the preliminary and final STVA estimate in percentage terms;
  2. Removing long-term and permanent movements from front page to enable more key point analysis on short-term movements; and
  3. A discussion about the difference between original, seasonally adjusted and trend estimates.
The difference between preliminary and final data will be published as a revision note on page 2 of the publication or will be included as an Appendix.

The focus of the front page will be devoted to short-term movements.

Front page commentary on long-term and permanent movements will be replaced by commentary on changes in the movement of visitors from major inbound tourism markets.

An analysis of original, seasonally adjusted and trend estimates will be introduced into the Main Features of the publication. This analysis will be consistent with ABS Time Series Analysis Guidelines (see paragraph 19).
(c) A general focus on short-term movements, throughout the publication without significant compromises to the level of analysis on long-term and permanent movements. While long-term and permanent movements will be removed from the front page, they will still be included in the improved Main Features commentary (remaining 25%).

The existing Permanent Arrivals (PA) by Country of Birth table (currently table 4 in the Overseas Arrivals and Departures publication) will remain.

Quarterly long-term and permanent movement data are also available in the ABS publication Australian Demographic Statistics (cat. no. 3101.0) and annual data are available in the ABS publication Migration, Australia (cat. no. 3412.0).
(d) More detail in Main Features commentary.The Main Features will become more dynamic and relevant, responding to the current and emerging issues associated with international movements.

Analysis will be enriched by the inclusion of graphs and summary tables where appropriate.
(e) More cross tabulations that provide data by 'country'. A variety of new quarterly AusStats spreadsheets are proposed for inclusion. See Attachment A.
(f) A table of STVD by country of residence by reason for visit by duration of stay including average number of nights. Main reason for journey is not collected for STVD.

Duration of stay counted as 'nights' is not collected. The collection is based on 'days'.

Mean and median length of stay have been included in proposed tables 4, 6 and 7 proposed for inclusion in the printed publication.

Mean and median length of stay together with a count in person days for various cross tabulations are proposed as quarterly AusStats spreadsheets 15, 16 and 17.

See Attachment A for further detail.
(g) Historical data for new tables or tables that have changed.AusStats spreadsheets 1 to 9 will contain historical time series.

A large amount of data would need to be included in the remaining AusStats spreadsheets to produce a historical series. The possibility of loading such information to AusStats is currently being explored.

Regardless of the outcome, historical data for the remaining AusStats spreadsheets will be available on request.
(h) Greater provision of seasonally adjusted estimates and year-apart comparisons to assist assessing the impact of recent world events.The ABS will endeavour to explore the provision of a greater range of seasonally adjusted and trend estimates for OAD data based on demand.

The provision of year-apart comparison will be provided where appropriate.

Please see paragraph 19.
(i) Improved data quality.The ABS is continually working with the data provider to enhance data quality.

ADDITIONAL OAD CONSIDERATIONS

8 The following are additional issues relevant to OAD dissemination also for stakeholder consideration.

Options for the Preliminary Publication

9 The current proposal is for an electronic publication presenting preliminary STVA data that is based on the Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs' (DIMIA) Travel and Immigration Processing System (TRIPS) data, to be released two weeks after the reference period. This is the same data that is currently contained in table 6 of the printed publication and table 8 on AusStats.

10 The ABS has been concerned about the quality of preliminary estimates based on TRIPS data. For example a change in the format of New Zealand passport numbers in December 2000 resulted in those passport movements not being included in the statistical extract provided to the ABS (although these movements were captured by TRIPS). Consequently, misleading preliminary estimates of visitors arriving from New Zealand have been released until the issue was resolved during March 2003. While preliminary estimates are unrelated to the derivation of final estimates and hence the issue has no bearing on final OAD data, it is worth noting that such issues do emerge from TRIPS and cause concern. A further explanation about this New Zealand TRIPS issue can be found in the March issue of Overseas Arrivals and Departures, Australia (cat. no. 3401.0), released 28 April 2003

11 As an alternative to preliminary estimates derived from TRIPS, there is the option of providing a "snapshot" of final data instead of TRIPS data in the proposed electronic publication. Final data is based on DIMIA passenger cards and is of a higher quality. This data would be final data and thus is what would be found in monthly publication (except the monthly publication would contain more detail). The disadvantage with using a "snapshot" is that it would be released four weeks after the reference period as opposed to two weeks. Note that under the current proposal, final data will be released approximately six weeks after the reference period in the monthly publication (i.e. there is a time lapse of approximately one and a half weeks between the 'snapshot' and the publication).

12 Stakeholders are therefore requested to advise their preference for either of the following options:
  1. TRIPS data (estimated on all movements into Australia), releasing the electronic product two weeks after the reference period; or
  2. Use a "snapshot" of the final data (estimated on the actual passenger cards), releasing the electronic product four weeks after the reference period.


Usefulness of various reference periods currently presented in various tables in the publication

13 As part of the redesign, the various reference periods provided in the tables in the publication will be reviewed. The existing set of reference periods are:
  1. Year ended 30 June (current and previous year);
  2. Financial and Calendar year to date (current and previous year);
  3. Latest quarter (current and previous year); and
  4. Reference month (current and previous year).

Stakeholders are requested to comment on the usefulness of these reference periods and/or indicate what sort of reference periods they would prefer.

Demand for long-term and permanent movements

14 The focus of the redesigned publication is on short-term movements. This proposal was developed in response to stakeholder requests. However, given recent world events, the ABS is interested to know whether there is new demand for this data and if so, what level of frequency and detail is preferred. As mentioned in table 1, quarterly long-term and permanent movement data are also available in the ABS publication Australian Demographic Statistics (cat. no. 3101.0) and annual data are available in the ABS publication Migration, Australia (cat. no. 3412.0).

Demand for a breakdown of OAD by broad age groups

15 As shown in Attachment A, there is the option of including a breakdown of OAD data by broad age groups on an annual basis. The ABS would be interested to know how much demand there is for this data.

Uses of ABS OAD data

16 The ABS is interested in OAD usage. For example, the ABS would be interested in being advised of programs, policy monitoring and/or development, decisions or assessments based on OAD data.

THE PROPOSED DISSEMINATION STRATEGY AND ABS GUIDELINES AND POLICY

17 The new electronic preliminary publication and the redesigned monthly publication and accompanying AusStats spreadsheets will be structured such that they comply with current ABS guidelines and policies.

18 It is ABS policy to ensure that statistics are disseminated based on current standard classifications. The current classification for country used for OAD dissemination is the Australian Standard Classification of Countries for Social Statistics (ASCCSS). This classification was superseded in 1998 by the Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC). The ABS intends to disseminate OAD data on SACC as soon as possible. When converting to SACC, the ABS will ensure that users are provided with sufficient information for a smooth transition.

19 ABS Time Series Analysis Guidelines will govern how time series data are presented and analysed. The ABS believes that analysis and reporting of data adjusted for seasonal and irregular effects will lead to improved informed decision making. Accordingly, the ABS seeks comments on which series are of interest for seasonal adjustment evaluation and inclusion in future releases. For further information about ABS Time Series Analysis Guidelines is scheduled for release in Information Paper: A Guide to Interpreting Time Series - Monitoring Trends (cat. no. 1349.0) in June 2003.

REQUEST FOR COMMENTS

20 All stakeholders are encouraged to provide comments. The feedback received as a result of this Paper will determine how the ABS proceeds to implement the proposal. Comments on this paper would be appreciated by 12 May 2003 and may be sent to Olivia Agius at olivia.agius@abs.gov.au or by telephoning (02) 6252 5640.

Demography Program
Australian Bureau of Statistics
22 April 2003

REFERENCES

ABS Demography Working Paper 2002/1 Overseas Arrivals and Departures Statistics Dissemination Plan

Australian Demographic Statistics, (cat. no. 3101.0)

Information Paper: A Guide to Interpreting Time Series - Monitoring Trends (cat. no. 1349.0) - to be released June 2003.

Migration, Australia (cat. no. 3412.0)

Overseas Arrivals and Departures, Australia (cat. no. 3401.0)

Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC) (cat. no. 1269.0)

Tourism Indicators, Australia (cat no. 8634.0) - publication ceased February 2003.

ATTACHMENT A
PROPOSED TABLES FOR OVERSEAS ARRIVALS AND DEPARTURES, AUSTRALIA (CAT NO. 3401.0)

1 Table A1 and A2 (below) present the proposed tables for the printed publication and for AusStats, respectively.

2 Spreadsheet numbers may be slightly different following operational implementation. For example spreadsheet 8 may become 8a and 8b (as previously 4a and 4b), depending on internal requirements.

3 Table/spreadsheet numbering system is as follows:
  • 01-09 indicates a table in the printed publication as well as an AusStats spreadsheet that will be updated monthly.
  • 10-19 indicates an AusStats spreadsheet that will be updated quarterly.
  • 20 and over indicates an AusStats spreadsheet that will be updated annually.

This numbering system is for OAD data only and does not apply to other ABS collections. Spaces between the proposed table numbers are to allow for additional tables if demanded.

4 Final implementation of all tables listed is subject to demand as a result of this discussion paper.
TABLE A1: PROPOSED PRINTED PUBLICATION TABLES

Table no.

Description

Relationship to existing printed publication(a)

1

Total arrivals:
  • All categories of traveller (includes seasonally adjusted and trend estimates for short-term visitor arrivals).

Table 1 (unchanged)

2

Total departures:
  • All categories of traveller (includes seasonally adjusted and trend estimates for short-term resident departures).

Table 2 (unchanged)

3

Short-term visitor arrivals:
  • Country of residence (major regions and selected countries).

Table 5.

4

Short-term visitor arrivals:
  • Intended length of stay (including mean and median length of stay)
  • Main reason for journey.

Table 3.

5

Short-term resident departures:
  • Main destination (major regions and selected countries).

Table 7.

6

Short-term resident departures:
  • Intended length of stay (includes mean and median length of stay)
  • Main reason for journey.

Table 3.

7

Short-term visitor departures:
  • State in which most time was spent (includes mean and median length of stay).

Table 8 (updated to include mean and median length of stay)

8

Permanent arrivals by country of birth

Table 4 (unchanged)
(a) Excluding tables 1 and 2, the reference periods provided will change. Please see paragraph 13.



TABLE A2: PROPOSED AUSSTATS SPREADSHEETS
Spreadsheet no.
Description
Relationship to existing AusStats Spreadsheets
MONTHLY
1Total arrivals:
  • All categories of traveller (includes seasonally adjusted and trend estimates for short-term visitor arrivals).
Table 1 (unchanged)
2Total departures:
  • All categories of traveller (includes seasonally adjusted and trend estimates for short-term resident departures).
Table 2 (unchanged)
3Short-term visitor arrivals:
  • Country of residence (major regions and selected countries).
Table 5.
4Short-term visitor arrivals:
  • Intended length of stay (including mean and median length of stay(b))
  • Main reason for journey.
Table 3a.
5Short-term resident departures:
  • Main destination (major regions and selected countries).
Table 7.
6Short-term resident departures:
  • Intended length of stay (includes mean and median length of stay(b))
  • Main reason for journey.
Table 3b.
7Short-term visitor departures:
  • State in which most time was spent (includes mean and median length of stay(b)).
Table 8 (updated to include mean and median length of stay)
8Permanent arrivals by country of birthTable 4a and 4b (unchanged)
QUARTERLY
10Short-term visitor arrivals by country of residence(c) by intended length of stay New table(a)
11Short-term visitor arrivals by country of residence(c) by main reason for journeyNew table(a)
12Short-term resident departures by destination(c) by intended length of stay New table
13Short-term resident departures by destination(c) by main reason for journeyNew table(a)
14Short-term visitor departures by country of residence(c) by state in which most time was spent New table
ANNUAL
20Dependant on demand - OAD by broad age groups.New table
(a) A similar table was previously in Tourism Indicators, Australia (cat no. 8634.0). This publication has ceased. The final issue was September quarter 2002, released 7 February 2003.
(b) Subject to evaluation of quality and date of implementation.
(c) Major regions and selected countries.

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