3401.0 - Overseas Arrivals and Departures, Australia, Mar 2016 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 06/05/2016   
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TAKE CARE! The estimates in this release have been revised back to October 2014. See 'Upgrade to the OAD system due to increases in missing passenger cards' below for details.

MARCH KEY FIGURES

Mar '16
Feb '16 to Mar '16
Mar '15 to Mar '16
'000
% change
% change

Short-term visitor arrivals
Trend
658.9
0.3
8.7
Seasonally adjusted
666.0
3.5
. .
Original
754.6
. .
. .
Short-term resident departures
Trend
821.4
0.4
5.2
Seasonally adjusted
830.9
3.9
. .
Original
773.4
. .
. .

. . not applicable

Visitor arrivals, Short-term
Graph: short-term visitor arrivals

Resident departures, Short-term
Graph: short-term resident departures



MARCH KEY POINTS

SHORT-TERM VISITOR ARRIVALS TO AUSTRALIA
  • Trend estimates: Short-term visitor arrivals during March 2016 (658,900 movements) increased 0.3%, compared with February 2016 (656,700 movements). This followed monthly increases of 0.6% in January 2016 and 0.5% in February 2016. The current trend estimate for arrivals is 8.7% higher than in March 2015.
  • Seasonally adjusted estimates: During March 2016, short-term visitor arrivals (666,000 movements) increased 3.5% compared with February 2016 (643,300 movements). This followed a monthly increase of 0.2% in January 2016 and a monthly decrease of 2.2% in February 2016.
  • Original estimates: There were 754,600 short-term visitor arrivals to Australia in March 2016.


SHORT-TERM RESIDENT DEPARTURES FROM AUSTRALIA
  • Trend estimates: Short-term resident departures during March 2016 (821,400 movements) increased 0.4%, compared with February 2016 (818,500 movements). This followed monthly increases of 0.5% in January 2016 and 0.4% in February 2016. The current trend estimate for departures is 5.2% higher than in March 2015.
  • Seasonally adjusted estimates: During March 2016, short-term resident departures (830,900 movements) increased 3.9% compared with February 2016 (799,900 movements). This followed a monthly increase of 0.9% in January 2016 and a monthly decrease of 2.8% in February 2016.
  • Original estimates: There were 773,400 short-term resident departures from Australia in March 2016.


NOTES



FORTHCOMING ISSUES

ISSUE Release Date
April 20163 June 2016
May 20166 July 2016
June 20164 August 2016
July 20169 September 2016
August 201610 October 2016
September 201610 November 2016

DATA NOTES


This release contains overseas movement data which should not be interpreted as 'persons'. See paragraph 7 of the Explanatory Notes for more detail.

The statistics in this release have been rounded. See paragraph 34 of the Explanatory Notes for more detail.

CHANGES IN THIS ISSUE

From August 2015 onwards, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) has progressively rolled out new technologies to streamline and strengthen border operations. Departure SmartGates are currently in use at Kingsford Smith (Sydney), Eagle Farm (Brisbane) and Tullamarine (Melbourne) for processing passengers leaving Australia. Passengers using Departure SmartGates place their outgoing passenger card in drop boxes located near the Departure SmartGate rather than handing them to Australian Border Force officers.

Coinciding with the roll-out of Departure SmartGates, there has been an increase in outgoing passenger cards not being collected due to passengers failing to place their cards into the drop boxes. The ABS and DIBP have been working together to mitigate this issue and to minimise the impact on data quality.

For March 2016, the ABS added 137,282 records to account for outgoing passenger cards missing from Kingsford Smith, Tullamarine, Eagle Farm and Perth. The ABS also added 692 records to account for a higher level of missing incoming passenger cards than expected from Coolangatta, Cairns, Darwin and Tullamarine airports. A total of 137,974 missing records were added to the overseas arrivals and departures data for March.

To accommodate for the increases in missing passenger cards, the ABS completed an upgrade to the OAD system in March 2016 to introduce new methods and maintain data quality. A revision of OAD data has been undertaken from October 2014 onwards based on the new methods. From October 2014 the ABS has adjusted for missing passenger card data each month. For further information, see Section 3 of the Data Quality Issues (Appendix 2) in the left hand side navigation bar under the Explanatory Notes tab.

UPGRADE TO THE OAD SYSTEM DUE TO INCREASES IN MISSING PASSENGER CARDS

Why upgrade the OAD system?


The ABS has upgraded the OAD system due to two changes at DIBP that have resulted in increases in missing passenger cards over time.

1. From October 2014 to May 2015, DIBP trialled a different provider for the processing of passenger cards. During this period there was a higher number of cards missing than expected.
2. From August 2015 onwards, DIBP progressively rolled out Departure SmartGates at the international airports. An increase in missing departure cards was observed throughout the roll-out.

To accommodate for the increases in missing passenger cards over time the ABS completed an upgrade to the OAD system in March 2016. The primary aim of this project was to maintain the quality of OAD data, given its importance as an input to a broad range of statistical collections.

OAD data is a key economic indicator, providing important information on cross-border movements. The data feeds into a number of important collections at the ABS including International Trade; National Income & Consumption; International Accounts and the Tourism Satellite Account. It is also a major input for estimating Net Overseas Migration (NOM) and therefore the Estimated Resident Population (ERP).

The data is also used extensively by other government departments, such as the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, and by business, particularly within the tourism industry.

Has there been a break in series?

No, there is no break in series from October 2014. However, the estimates from October 2014 onwards are based on the revised methodology.

What data has changed?


The ABS introduce new methods to better accommodate for the increases in missing passenger cards. The upgrade includes the use of additional sources of data. This will maintain the data quality of most variables and has reduced reliance on the use of imputations.

All of the data from the variables usually sourced from the passenger card have changed. They include:
    • Country of Embarkation/Disembarkation
      - if card missing uses flight schedule information as an alternative source, otherwise imputes,
    • Country of Residence/Stay
      - if original departure card missing uses individuals most recent secondary passenger card as an alternative source, otherwise imputes,
    • Duration of Stay
      - if departure card missing and box D (visitor or temporary entrant departing) then exact duration is measured from previous border crossing, otherwise imputes,
    • Passenger Card Box Type
      - if original departure card missing uses visa and citizenship information, or uses individuals most recent secondary passenger card as an alternative source, otherwise imputes,
    • Reason for Journey,
      - if card missing imputes
    • State of Stay/Residence
      - if original departure card missing uses individuals most recent secondary passenger card as an alternative source, otherwise imputes,
    • Categories of Travel
      - created from a combination of Duration of Stay and Passenger Card Box Type.


Table 1 Revisions to OAD data: Arrivals, Australia - October 2014 to February 2016
(a)

Category of movement
Month
Permanent Arrivals
Long-term Residents returning
Long-term Visitors
arriving
Short-term Residents returning
Short-term Visitors
arriving
Total arrivals

2014
October
14
-6
-1 563
5 051
4 279
7 776
November
110
24
-1 050
5 465
6 708
11 256
December
70
51
171
2 825
5 110
8 227
2015
January
99
77
510
5 930
3 668
10 284
February
119
101
281
2 524
1 436
4 461
March
-72
-5
57
2 326
1 793
4 098
April
21
22
77
1 700
984
2 804
May
-554
-62
-154
2 867
3 641
5 737
June
16
-1
1
660
707
1 383
July
15
7
75
814
397
1 308
August
6
9
-1
532
365
911
September
3
14
-114
578
386
867
October
17
23
87
1 740
1 227
3 094
November
16
9
-70
345
101
401
December
16
18
1
589
1 010
1 633
2016
January
3
10
3
-12
-3
0
February
2
-17
-52
21
50
4

(a) Due to weighted samples of short-term movements, sums of components may not add exactly to totals.


Table 2 Revisions to OAD data: Departures, Australia - October 2014 to February 2016(a)

Category of movement
Month
Permanent Departures
Long-term Residents departing
Long-term Visitors departing
Short-term Residents departing
Short-term Visitors departing
Total departures

2014
October
-986
-1 116
4
7 111
1 570
6 582
November
-291
-408
128
5 042
2 615
7 085
December
-427
-530
172
7 235
6 511
12 961
2015
January
-145
-104
106
4 055
3 982
7 894
February
-115
-105
102
2 620
2 095
4 597
March
-1 147
-1 546
-128
2 394
1 848
1 422
April
4
2
3
1 004
619
1 632
May
-788
-977
72
3 760
1 269
3 336
June
1
-14
-1
114
75
175
July
2
-20
26
574
292
873
August
8
-11
147
4 045
3 915
8 104
September
18
47
382
11 973
9 090
21 509
October
-1 110
-1 444
77
3 331
-358
496
November
57
2
396
29
-268
217
December
60
-22
819
-1 087
2 245
2 015
2016
January
-490
86
744
3 651
-3 994
-4
February
-388
67
867
4 194
-4 737
3

(a) Due to weighted samples of short-term movements, sums of components may not add exactly to totals.


When were the changes published?

The upgrade to the OAD system and revised data was made available from the reference month of March 2016 in Overseas Arrivals and Departures, Australia, March 2016 (cat. no. 3401.0), released on 6 May 2016.

A revised time series based on the changed methods replaced all existing data for the reference period October 2014 to February 2016. Access to the previous time series remains available in Overseas Arrivals and Departures, Australia, February 2016 (cat. no. 3401.0).

Has this affected other ABS data?


Yes. All data that uses OAD data as a major input to their collection has been affected to some degree. Each area of the ABS has been provided with the revised data where required. This includes: International Trade; National Income & Consumption; International Accounts and the Tourism Satellite Account.

Has this affected the NOM time series?


Yes (but there is no break to the series). The data from the upgraded OAD system has been used to produce preliminary NOM from December quarter 2014 onwards. The revisions will become available from December Quarter 2015, in Australian Demographic Statistics, December Quarter 2015 (cat. no. 3101.0) scheduled for released on 23 June 2016.

The data has been used to produce final NOM from June quarter 2013 onwards. As expected, it made no change to the final NOM estimates.

Where do I look for more information?

Information on the upgrade to the OAD system is available in Section 3 of the Data Quality Issues (Appendix 2) in the left hand side navigation bar under the Explanatory Notes tab in Overseas Arrivals and Departures, Australia, March 2016 (cat. no. 3401.0).


INQUIRIES

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