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ABS to scale back collection of culture, recreation, sport and tourism statistics

ABS to scale back collection of culture, recreation, sport and tourism statistics
June 8, 2014

Implementing cuts of around $50 million over three years, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) will end its surveys on Australian social trends and Measures of Australia's Progress, as well as ending its contribution to collecting culture, sport and recreation statistics.

The tourism sector is also likely to lose an important set of industry data, with the ABS to cease conducting its Survey of Tourist Accommodation.

Pro-development lobby group Tourism & Transport Forum (TTF) believes that discontinuing the ABS Survey of Tourist Accommodation will be disastrous for the industry.

TTF Executive Director Adele Labine-Romain said that without this data, Australia’s tourism goals come under serious threat, stating “Australia has an ambitious goal to double overnight expenditure by 2020 and the availability of regular, reliable data is needed to underpin investment and planning to aid the industry.

“The Australian Government has recognised the need for increased investment in tourism product, including tourism accommodation, and this kind of data is key for investment development.

“Small area data provides essential information about tourism performance in regional areas and helps inform both public and private planning.

“Government must continue to fund tourism and research to help the industry realise its potential.

“TTF is calling on the federal government to seriously consider the impact this loss of data will have on the tourism industry which has been identified as one of Australia’s five super-growth sectors which can collectively add $250 billion to the national economy over the next 20 years.

“Australia’s $110 billion tourism industry already supports 543,000 direct jobs in 283,000 tourism businesses nationwide and with the right support from government; tourism will grow even faster, providing economic prosperity and job and business opportunities across the country into the future.”

In a statement on the changes, ABS acting Chief Statistician Jonathan Palmer told the ABC "we have had to discontinue or reduce outputs in areas that are valued by the users of those statistics.

"If funding is provided for the work we are ceasing, we will reinstate it. The quality, integrity and relevance of our statistics are critical to informing effective decision making, and we must not lose sight of that as we plan for the future."


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