A new plan to better understand tourism trends in Australia could see bank, telco and social media data collected from international and domestic travellers.
The federal government’s trade and investment arm, AusTrade, is considering the new sources of data as part of a “large scale data supply project” that will overhaul its key resources for measuring tourism.
It is currently looking for a provider to source traveller data to replace the current international and national visitor surveys from January next year.
These surveys “have historically been recognised as the primary instruments for providing data on international visitors to Australia and Australian-resident travel” and inform everyone from airlines to farmers hiring backpackers.
The international visitor survey (IVS) has been used to measure international travellers since the 1980s.
It is manually compiled each year using 40,000 face-to-face interviews with visitors 15 years and up at Australian airport departure lounges.
A separate national visitor survey (NVS) was also introduced in 1998 to measure domestic travellers, but uses around 120,000 phone interviews each year to source information.
Data collected includes core demographic characteristics and trip information, as well a series of alternating questions.
However with advances in technology, AusTrade is now looking to capture “other mainstream products and alternative data sources (ADS) which are now also offering increased utility for measuring some aspects of tourism activity”.
These sources include: overseas arrivals and departures data, aviation traffic and flight schedules data, financial transactions data, social media data and telecommunications data.
The data will be used to inform policy, marketing and “supply-side planning” by the federal, state and territory governments, as well as measuring its contribution to the economy.
“Ongoing supply of tourism data is essential to measuring the value of the industry, its performance and contribution to Australia’s economic prosperity,” tender documents state.
Interested parties will need to provide AusTrade with data outputs on a quarterly basis for up to six years.
But the agency wants to know what methodology the provider proposes using to supply data.
Its suggestions include “mining and consolidation of relevant data from existing mainstream products and/or ADS” and linking data, collecting primary data from travellers and using “data modelling and estimation techniques”.
It also wants what data sources – if proposing data mining and consolidation activities – it proposes and how it will target individuals.
AusTrade expects tenderers to abide by the Australian Privacy Principles in the Privacy Act 1998 if any personal information is accessed, collected or used.