Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Australian Short Term Visitor Arrivals - January 2008

This post is a diversion from my current campaign for a consumer revolution, although I give Bob Q. notice that I am about to get him started on Woollies, the fresh food people.

As part of my continuing interest in Australia's entrails, I was struck by the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics figures on short term arrivals to this country. Those who, like the priests from Ancient Rome, prefer their entrails fresh and still steamy can get the source data here.

Now the short term visitor data is interesting because it includes everybody just coming here for a short time. Here I was struck by the apparent fact that there appears to have been no real increase over the last twelve months. What, here is our economy apparently going gang-busters, and nobody extra wants to come! Don't people love us anymore?

I thought then to look at just where our visitors came from. Now here I found some interesting patterns.

Let's start with the rather quaint category Oceania & Antarctica. I was struck by this, wondering just how many of Antarctica's crowded throngs wanted to flee to Australia's more benign climate. Hard to tell from the stats, but I suspect the answer is none.

So given that the aggregate categories might be a little suss, I decided to look at the top ten countries in the January estimates. They are:

  • New Zealand 70,800
  • United Kingdom 66,300
  • Japan 38,600
  • USA 37,200
  • China 36,300
  • Korea 28,400
  • Germany 13,400
  • Canada 13,000
  • Singapore 11,300
  • Malaysia 8,700

What does this tell us?

I can understand New Zealand, but I really was struck by the high UK numbers. Continuing historical links continue strong, far stronger I suspect than is allowed for.

Japan continues strong, but China is now closing in. If you add in Singapore and Taiwan (6,300 visitors), Chinese linkages have now overtaken Japan.

But look at Korea! I would never have imagined that Korea would rank number six. I knew that the Korean connection is more poweful than people realise, but the scale still surprised me.

I was struck by the absence of India, with January numbers so small that they did not even warrant a separate category in the ABS summary. Was this an error, or is the number just very low?

I was also struck and to a degree worried by the small number of Indonesians. In January, only 5,500 visited, probably about the same in that month who flew from Armidale to Sydney. Am I alone in thinking that this is a problem?

Finally, and I would have to check this to be sure, perhaps 60% of visitors came from Commonwealth and Empire countries. Again, the old links appear to have a continuing power.

All very interesting, I thought.

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