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Assistance to tourism: Exploratory estimates

Commission research paper

This paper was released on 8 April 2005. Drawing on a new collection of data on travel and tourism activity in Australia, including the Tourism Satellite Account developed by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and other official data, the Commission has attempted in this study to provide assistance estimates for tourism on a comparable basis to other industries.

The estimates are called ‘exploratory’, because they have required some judgements and analytical innovations to overcome the conceptual and measurement difficulties entailed.

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The tourism industry receives a diverse range of government assistance totalling around $1 billion, according to a new Productivity Commission study, Assistance to Tourism: Exploratory Estimates.

Measures such as destination marketing and support for high-profile cultural or sporting events seek to attract tourists to various locations within Australia. Similarly, a proportion of government funding for art galleries, national parks and transport also assists tourism. On the other hand, tariffs on imported items inflate the industry's costs.

Estimates compiled by the Commission suggest that the Australian Government provided budgetary assistance to tourism of around $230-260 million per annum, on average, over the three years to 2002-03. Net of tariffs, Australian Government assistance to tourism averaged around $150 million per year.

As a share of its output, tourism receives a lower rate of Australian Government assistance than the average for the manufacturing and primary sectors, although more than is afforded to a number of other industries in the services sector.

The study indicates that most assistance to tourism has been provided by the States and Territories, averaging some $780-960 million per annum between 2000-01 and 2002-03.

The Commission notes that this study is the first comprehensive attempt to quantify the extent of assistance to tourism on a comparable basis to that for other industries. Conceptual and informational limitations mean that the estimates should be considered 'exploratory' and interpreted with care.

Cover, Copyright, Foreword, Acknowledgments, Contents, Abbreviations, Overview

1 Introduction

2 The Australian tourism industry
2.1 What are tourists and tourism?
2.2 What is the tourism 'industry'?
2.3 Estimating the output of the Australian tourism industry
2.4 Summing-up

3 Identifying and measuring assistance to tourism: methodological issues
3.1 What government actions constitute assistance
3.2 Delineating assistance to tourism
3.3 Estimating assistance to tourism
3.4 Interpreting assistance estimates for policy purposes
3.5 Summing-up

4 Dedicated tourism assistance and event and convention support
4.1 Dedicated tourism assistance
4.2 Event attraction activities
4.3 Convention centres and bureau support
4.4 Total assistance to tourism from dedicated tourism assistance and event and convention support

5 Other budgetary outlay assistance to tourism
5.1 Multi-purpose budgetary outlay assistance
5.2 Incidental budgetary outlay assistance
5.3 Total multi-purpose and incidental assistance

6 Taxation measures
6.1 Industry policy measures
6.2 Tourism-related financial imposts
6.3 General revenue-raising measures

7 Summary assistance estimates and some implications
7.1 Summary estimates
7.2 Some implications

A Budgetary outlays assistance estimates
A.1 Data sources and data quality issues
A.2 Shares used to estimate outlay assistance Annexes
A.3 Detailed estimates

A1 the Australian Government
A2 the New South Wales Government
A3 the Victorian Government
A4 the Queensland Government
A5 the South Australian Government
A6 the Western Australian Government
A7 the Tasmanian Government
A8 the Northern Territory Government
A9 the Australian Capital Territory Government

B Tax measures: analysis and estimates
B.1 Industry policy tax concessions
B.2 Tourism-related financial imposts
B.3 Goods and services tax

C Tourism expenditure by non-holiday/leisure visitors

D Comments on the paper's approach to defining and measuring tourism


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