It is being reported that visitor numbers over Easter at Queensland tourism centres such as the Gold and Sunshine Coasts were at levels not seen since before the financial crisis. This is great news given the importance of tourism to the Queensland economy. Recall that tourism is one of the so-called four pillars of the Queensland economy. According to the State Tourism Satellite Accounts 2012-13 prepared by Tourism Research Australia, tourism directly contributed $10 billion to the Queensland economy in 2012-13, supporting 140,000 jobs (see charts I’ve copied and pasted below; N.B. GVA stands for gross value added, which measures the industry’s economic contribution). This was equivalent to 3.8% of the State economy and 5.9% of total employment. This puts tourism in third place among the four pillars, with mining contributing $30 billion, construction $26 billion and agriculture $8 billion.
Incidentally, tourism appears less important than some other industries, such as manufacturing ($20 billion). (Note that I’ve taken some liberties with these industry comparisons since tourism strictly isn’t an industry, but a category of expenditure, and the tourism sector estimates are constructed by extracting tourism activity from other industries, particularly accommodation and food services, transport and retail trade.)
I haven’t mentioned the estimates of flow-on activity and employment, because the calculation of flow-on impacts is imprecise and controversial. I’ll try to elaborate on this point in a future post.