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A moving feast

AS the Christmas and New Year festivities fast approach, it is nice of the Australian Bureau of Statistics to put another perspective on such events. In its latest issue of Australian Economic Indicators the ABS has analysed the impact of Chinese New Year and the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, noting the changes in traveller arrivals and departures around these periods. The ABS notes that visitor arrivals from predominantly Islamic countries, such as Malaysia and Indonesia, jump at the end of Ramadan when a festival known as Eid al-fitr is celebrated. Conversely, arrivals from Hong Kong pick up in the week before Chinese New Year is celebrated, and drop off during the period and immediately afterwards. While this has little effect on most of us – except those rather loud crackers set off at the local Chinese restaurant –The Note thought this might be of interest to those in the tourism business, especially as both Chinese New Year and Ramadan move about a bit. According to the federal government’s smartraveller.gov.au website, Ramadan is just finishing about now, while Chinese New Year’s Day (to begin the Year of the Dog) is January 29, 2006, according to chinapage.com, which is a link off another federal government site cultureandrecreation.gov.au. Best mark your diaries accordingly. Of course, the ABS statisticians’ concern was not for our tourism trade; for them it was just an exercise in smoothing out those pesky seasonal anomalies created by moving holidays that upset their nice smooth trend lines.

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