ABS response to "Education bigger than tourism" (The Age 6 February 2008)

The article Education bigger than tourism(The Age 6/2) reports Australian Bureau of Statistics data showing that education has overtaken tourism as Australia's top services export. This is not so. The report mistakenly assumes that the 'Other personal travel' category reported in the latest issue of International Trade in Goods and Services, Australia (cat. no. 5368.0) is the same thing as tourism, however significant tourism related earnings, such as those from the sale of airline tickets, are included in other categories.

The ABS defines tourism in its Tourism Satellite Account (cat. no. 5249.0), which in 2006 reported total tourism exports at $20.5b.

Ian Ewing
Deputy Australian Statistician
Macroecomics and Integration Group