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​​Tourism Research Australia continuously seeks to improve the methodology and data quality of the International Visitor Survey (IVS) and National Visitor Survey (NVS), the official sources of tourism statistics in Australia. From time to time, revisions to historical IVS and NVS estimates are made to reflect methodology improvements. It is important to always use the latest available data, rather than referring to old publications that may no longer be accurate.

In some circumstances, improvements to the methodology of the IVS and NVS will result in a break in time series. Significant data revisions and/or breaks in time series for the IVS and NVS are outlined below. More information can be found on Tourism Research Australia’s website.

National Visitor Survey (NVS) - Breaks in time series

The NVS commenced in 1998. Between 1998 and 2013, all interviews were undertaken with respondents on residential fixed-line telephones using Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI). To provide better coverage of the Australian population, TRA commenced mobile phone interviewing on 2 January 2014. Between 2014 and 2018, 50 per cent of the NVS sample was on fixed-lines, and 50 per cent on mobile phones. From January 2019, TRA implemented 100% per cent mobile phone interviewing for the NVS (no calls to fixed-lines). 

Analysis by TRA has revealed people interviewed on mobile phones are different to people interviewed on landlines in terms of their demographic profile and travel behaviour. Most notably, people interviewed on mobile phones are more likely to be from a younger demographic group who are inclined to travel more frequently. The move to mobile phone interviewing has improved visitation estimates by bringing the sample more in line with the Australian population. However, the change in methodology means there are two ‘breaks in time series’ for the NVS, one from the March quarter 2014 and another from the March quarter 2019. It is important to keep this change in methodology in mind when looking at long term trends in the NVS results.


Last Reviewed: 2020-02-17