The government’s official number crunchers at the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reckon that just over one million Australians left these shores as what they call short-term travellers in December.

This follows an estimated 697,000 bunking off in November and 701,300 in October.In the meantime, overseas visitor arrivals to Australia numbered 806,700 in December, well up on the 608,800 arrivals in November and 571,400 in October.

Just how close to the truth these numbers are is all a bit dubious though.What are described as “passenger card processing issues” by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) means the figures are late and reliable data won’t be available until May. 

All the kerfuffle has led the travel industry mouthpiece TTF (the Tourism & Transport Forum) to let off a bit of steam.“We can’t ask people to invest in Australia if we don’t have current, accurate data that confirms the value of their investment,” said TTF boss Margy Osmond after welcoming the delayed data. Without up-to-date statistics she reckons that allocating funding to the areas where it’s most needed “is no more than guess work”. In the meantime, whether you’re coming or going, we guess you’ll have a nice holiday anyway.