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3401.0 - Overseas Arrivals and Departures, Australia, Dec 2008 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 06/02/2009   
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FEATURE ARTICLE: INTERNATIONAL MOVEMENTS — 2008


ALL MOVEMENTS

In the year ended December 2008 there were a record 23.8 million crossings of Australia's international borders by travellers (original series). This represents 1,112 crossings per 1,000 Australian population. The majority of movements were short-term (96%). Short-term movements have a duration of stay in Australia or absence from Australia of less than one year. Ten years ago (1998) there were 15.1 million crossings by travellers, representing 805 crossings per 1,000 Australian population.

Just over half of the total movements in 2008 were arrivals to Australia (12.0 million). They were comprised of 5.8 million Australian residents returning after a short-term absence from Australia, 5.6 million visitors arriving for a short-term stay and 634,100 permanent and long-term arrivals.

Just under half of the total movements in 2008 were departures from Australia (11.7 million). They were comprised of 5.8 million Australian residents departing short-term, 5.6 million visitors departing Australia after a short-term stay and 321,600 permanent and long-term departures.

A traveller may cross Australia's borders many times in a year and each movement is counted in these statistics. See the 1st paragraph of the PERMANENT AND LONG-TERM MOVEMENTS section in the MAIN FEATURES.


Short-term visitor arrivals

Trend estimates

Trend estimates provide the best method to analyse the underlying direction of the short-term visitor arrivals series. Since December 1987 the trend series has mainly recorded long-term growth. While the current Global Financial Crisis has seen the series decline from April 2008 the decline faltered in December 2008 (see the Short-term Visitor Arrivals, Australia graph on page 8).

In terms of monthly percentage change this recent fall in the series is not as great as previous declines experienced in the series (e.g. the Pilot's Strike in late 1988, the Asian Financial Crisis commencing in 1997 and the September 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States of America).

SHORT-TERM VISITOR ARRIVALS, Australia - Trend Series: Monthly Percentage Change(a)
Graph: SHORT-TERM VISITOR ARRIVALS, Australia—Trend Series: Monthly Percentage Change(a)


Over the ten year period to December 2008 trend estimates, while showing monthly fluctuations, have mainly recorded strong long-term growth. From mid 2008 the trend series declined and is currently flat. The high point in the series was in January 2007 (473,600 movements) and the low point was in December 1998 (353,600 movements).

Seasonally adjusted estimates

Irregular impacts on the short-term visitor arrivals series are demonstrated by the seasonally adjusted series. The graph below shows that over the ten year period ending December 2008 a number of large variations were evident for short-term visitor arrivals to Australia. The terrorist attacks in the United States of America on 11 September 2001 and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in mid-2003 both coincide with decreases in the numbers of visitors arriving in Australia. The increase in movements in September 2000 reflects the large number of arrivals at the time of the Sydney Olympic Games.

SHORT-TERM VISITOR ARRIVALS, Australia
Graph: SHORT-TERM VISITOR ARRIVALS, Australia


Original estimates

In original terms, 5.59 million short-term visitors arrived in Australia in the year ended December 2008. This was lower than the record 5.64 million in the year ended December 2007. Ten years ago (1998), 4.17 million short-term visitors arrived in Australia.

The following table shows, for selected years, the top ten source countries (based on 2008) for short-term visitor arrivals. For each of the selected periods New Zealand was the largest contributor to short-term visitor arrivals to Australia (19.9% in 2008). The UK, CIs & IOM was the second highest contributor in both 2003 and 2008 having replaced Japan from 1998. Japan's percentage contribution fell from 18.0% in 1998 to 8.2% in 2008. Of the top ten source countries, short-term visitor arrivals from China recorded the strongest growth over the period, increasing from 1.8% in 1998 to 6.4% in 2008.

SHORT-TERM VISITOR ARRIVALS, Australia(a) - Calendar Years

1998
2003
2008
Number
Proportion
Number
Proportion
Number
Proportion
Country of residence
'000
%
'000
%
'000
%

New Zealand
709.4
17.0
839.1
17.7
1 113.3
19.9
UK, CIs & IOM(b)
467.5
11.2
672.8
14.2
672.1
12.0
Japan
751.1
18.0
627.7
13.2
457.3
8.2
United States of America
373.9
9.0
422.1
8.9
454.4
8.1
China
76.5
1.8
176.1
3.7
356.4
6.4
Singapore
247.1
5.9
253.4
5.3
270.9
4.8
Korea
66.6
1.6
207.3
4.4
218.3
3.9
Malaysia
112.1
2.7
155.6
3.3
171.0
3.1
Germany
127.4
3.1
137.9
2.9
160.7
2.9
Hong Kong
143.4
3.4
129.3
2.7
144.0
2.6
All other countries
1 092.1
26.2
1 124.5
23.7
1 567.4
28.1
Total
4 167.2
100.0
4 745.9
100.0
5 585.8
100.0

(a) Top 10 source countries based on original estimates for 2008.
(b) United Kingdom, Channel Islands and Isle of Man.


When 1998 and 2008 were compared the peak age group for all short-term visitor arrivals remained the 25-29 years age group (12.7% and 10.9% respectively). People are travelling at an older age with the proportion travelling in the 50-69 years age group increasing from 24.0% in 1998 to 26.9% in 2008 Conversely, the proportion travelling in the 25-49 years age group decreased from 50.4% in 1998 to 45.6% in 2008. The median age of all short-term visitor arrivals was 37.5 years in 1998 compared with 38.7 years in 2008.

SHORT-TERM VISITOR ARRIVALS, Australia - Calendar Years

1998
2003
2008
Number
Proportion
Number
Proportion
Number
Proportion
Age group (years)
'000
%
'000
%
'000
%

0-4
81.4
2.0
93.0
2.0
116.6
2.1
5-9
98.0
2.4
115.0
2.4
128.2
2.3
10-14
128.0
3.1
152.3
3.2
174.2
3.1
15-19
211.9
5.1
253.7
5.3
342.1
6.1
20-24
378.6
9.1
455.5
9.6
546.7
9.8
25-29
530.4
12.7
550.0
11.6
610.4
10.9
30-34
448.4
10.8
506.2
10.7
510.4
9.1
35-39
395.7
9.5
439.7
9.3
487.8
8.7
40-44
364.1
8.7
426.2
9.0
464.2
8.3
45-49
362.8
8.7
400.7
8.4
472.3
8.5
50-54
343.4
8.2
402.1
8.5
464.2
8.3
55-59
277.9
6.7
341.7
7.2
424.3
7.6
60-64
219.7
5.3
259.4
5.5
364.6
6.5
65-69
159.2
3.8
177.3
3.7
247.3
4.4
70-74
99.7
2.4
97.5
2.1
134.3
2.4
75 and over
68.2
1.6
75.7
1.6
98.2
1.8
Total
4 167.2
100.0
4 745.9
100.0
5 585.8
100.0


For male visitors arriving for a short-term stay the peak age group moved from the 30-34 years age group in 1998 (11.7%) to the younger 25-29 years age group in 2008 (10.2%). For females the peak age group remained the same, the 25-29 years age group (14.1% in 1998 decreasing to 11.7% in 2008). The median ages of males and females increased in 2008 to 39.7 years and 37.4 years respectively. In 1998 the comparative medians were 38.6 years and 35.9 years respectively.

SHORT-TERM VISITOR ARRIVALS, Australia - Age and Sex
Graph: SHORT-TERM VISITOR ARRIVALS, Australia—Age and Sex


More males than females arrive for short-term stays in Australia. The short-term visitor arrival sex ratio (the number of male arrivals per 100 female arrivals) was 108 males in 1998 compared with 105 males in 2008. The highest sex ratio was recorded in the 40-44 years age group for both years (149 males in 1998 and 147 males in 2008). The lowest sex ratios were in the 15-19 years age group (75 males in 1998 and 81 males in 2008) The following graph illustrates, for short-term visitor arrivals, the sex ratios at each age group.

SHORT-TERM VISITOR ARRIVALS, Australia - Sex ratios at age
Graph: SHORT-TERM VISITOR ARRIVALS, Australia—Sex ratios at age


In the year ended December 2008, short-term visitor arrivals to Australia stated the main reason for journey as holiday (48%), followed by visiting friends and relatives (22%) and business (12%). In comparison the main reasons for journey in the year ended December 1998 were holiday (53%), visiting friends and relatives (20%) and business (10%). During the 2008 period the median duration of stay for all short-term visitor arrivals was 11 days compared with 10 days in 1998.

New South Wales was the intended state of stay for 39% of all short-term visitors to Australia in the year ended December 2008. The other destinations were Queensland (27%), Victoria (19%), Western Australia (10%), South Australia (3%) and Tasmania, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory (1% each). In 1998, the intended state of stay proportions for all short-term visitor arrivals were mainly similar. Differences were recorded for New South Wales 41%, Queensland 30%, Victoria 15% and South Australia 2%.


Short-term resident departures

Trend estimates

Trend estimates provide the best method to analyse the underlying direction of the short-term resident departures series. Since December 1987 the trend series mainly recorded strong long-term growth. Currently the Global Financial Crisis appears to have had only a small impact on the short-term resident departures trend series. Since July 2008 monthly growth, while remaining positive has slowed (see the Short-term Resident Departures, Australia graph on page 12).

In terms of monthly percentage change the series is currently stable but it has previously shown strong declines (e.g. the Iraq War in 1991 and the Bali bombings in October 2002).

SHORT-TERM RESIDENT DEPARTURES, Australia - Trend Series(a): Monthly Percentage Change(b)
Graph: SHORT-TERM RESIDENT DEPARTURES, Australia—Trend Series(a): Monthly Percentage Change(b)


In the main, trend estimates have recorded strong long-term growth over the ten years ending December 2008. Over the past 12 months growth, while remaining positive, has slowed. The high point during the ten year period was December 2008 (487,000 movements) and the low point was in April 1999 (263,500 movements).

Seasonally adjusted estimates

The seasonally adjusted series allows for the analysis of irregular impacts on the series. During the ten years ending December 2008 the seasonally adjusted estimate has mainly recorded strong growth. During the period commencing late 2000 and ending late 2003 movements remained relatively stable, with two exceptions coinciding with September 11 in 2001 and the emergence of SARS in mid 2003. Additional factors that may have contributed to short-term resident departures remaining stable during this period include the low Australian dollar in 2000, the bombing in Bali in October 2002 and the anticipation and commencement of military action in Iraq in early 2003.

SHORT-TERM RESIDENT DEPARTURES, Australia
Graph: SHORT-TERM RESIDENT DEPARTURES, Australia


Original estimates

In original terms, a record 5.8 million residents travelled overseas for short-term visits in the year ended December 2008. This compared with 5.5 million in the year ended December 2007. Ten years ago (1998), there were 3.2 million residents departing Australia short-term.

The following table shows, for selected years, the top ten destination countries (based on 2008) for short-term resident departures. While the proportion decreased for New Zealand when 2003 (19.6%) and 2008 (15.9%) were compared, it remained the largest contributor to short-term resident departures from Australia for each of the selected periods. Indonesia's contribution fell between 1998 (11.1%) and 2003 (5.5%) reflecting the Bali bombing in 2002 but increased again by 2008 (6.6%) notwithstanding the second Bali bombing in 2005. Australian resident departures increased to Thailand (up from 4.3% in 1998 to 7.0% in 2008) and China (up from 2.6% in 1998 to 4.8% in 2008).

SHORT-TERM RESIDENT DEPARTURES, Australia(a) - Calendar Years

1998
2003
2008
Number
Proportion
Number
Proportion
Number
Proportion
Country of destination
'000
%
'000
%
'000
%

New Zealand
470.1
14.9
662.8
19.6
921.1
15.9
United States of America
322.7
10.2
296.3
8.7
492.3
8.5
UK, CIs & IOM(b)
322.4
10.2
312.9
9.2
420.5
7.2
Thailand
135.8
4.3
128.2
3.8
404.1
7.0
Indonesia
349.6
11.1
186.4
5.5
380.6
6.6
China
82.0
2.6
114.2
3.4
277.2
4.8
Fiji
99.2
3.1
145.2
4.3
236.3
4.1
Singapore
122.6
3.9
124.3
3.7
217.7
3.7
Hong Kong
147.4
4.7
115.0
3.4
212.9
3.7
Malaysia
111.9
3.5
100.9
3.0
191.0
3.3
All other countries
997.5
31.6
1 201.8
35.5
2 054.4
35.4
Total
3 161.1
100.0
3 388.0
100.0
5 808.1
100.0

(a) Top 10 destination countries based on original estimates for 2008.
(b) United Kingdom, Channel Islands and Isle of Man.


When 1998 and 2008 were compared the peak age group for all short-term resident departures remained the 45-49 years age group (10.7% and 10.2% respectively). Australian residents are travelling overseas at an older age with the proportion travelling in the 50-69 years age group increasing from 24.5% in 1998 to 29.4% in 2008. Conversely, the proportion travelling in the 25-49 years age group decreased from 51.0% in 1998 to 45.9% in 2008. The median age of all short-term resident departures was 39.6 years in 1998 compared with 41.4 years in 2008.

SHORT-TERM RESIDENT DEPARTURES, Australia - Calendar Years

1998
2003
2008
Number
Proportion
Number
Proportion
Number
Proportion
Age groups (years)
'000
%
'000
%
'000
%

0-4
96.9
3.1
102.6
3.0
185.2
3.2
5-9
95.8
3.0
104.2
3.1
168.2
2.9
10-14
112.9
3.6
123.2
3.6
203.5
3.5
15-19
132.6
4.2
143.5
4.2
262.3
4.5
20-24
222.2
7.0
219.6
6.5
392.1
6.8
25-29
315.0
10.0
303.0
8.9
509.7
8.8
30-34
306.0
9.7
358.8
10.6
502.2
8.6
35-39
324.3
10.3
329.2
9.7
538.6
9.3
40-44
329.2
10.4
360.4
10.6
523.8
9.0
45-49
338.8
10.7
351.7
10.4
591.3
10.2
50-54
320.2
10.1
336.5
9.9
571.9
9.8
55-59
216.9
6.9
280.4
8.3
508.3
8.8
60-64
139.2
4.4
165.4
4.9
395.8
6.8
65-69
97.9
3.1
99.8
2.9
232.3
4.0
70-74
64.7
2.0
57.9
1.7
122.9
2.1
75 and over
48.6
1.5
51.8
1.5
100.0
1.7
Total
3 161.1
100.0
3 388.0
100.0
5 808.1
100.0


For male Australian residents departing overseas for a short-term stay abroad the peak age group remained the 45-49 years age group (11.5% in 1998 decreasing to 10.8% in 2008). For females the peak age group changed considerably, moving from the 25-29 years age group in 1998 (11.0%) to the 50-54 years age group in 2008 (9.6%). The median age of males and females increased in 2008 to 42.5 years and 40.0 years respectively. In 1998 the comparative medians were 40.7 years and 38.0 years respectively.

SHORT-TERM RESIDENT DEPARTURES, Australia - Age and Sex
Graph: SHORT-TERM RESIDENT DEPARTURES, Australia—Age and Sex


More male than female residents depart Australia for short-term stays abroad. The short-term resident departures sex ratio (the number of male arrivals per 100 female arrivals) was 118 males in 1998 compared with 115 males in 2008. The highest sex ratios were recorded in the 35-39 years age group in 1998 (145 males) and the 40-44 years age group in 2008 (140 males). The lowest sex ratios were in the 15-19 years age group (80 males per 100 females in 1998 and 84 males per 100 females in 2008). The age group 75 years and over has seen considerable change with the sex ratio increasing from 84 males in 1998 to 111 males in 2008. The following graph illustrates, for short-term resident departures, the sex ratios at each age group.

SHORT-TERM RESIDENT DEPARTURES, Australia - Sex ratios at age
Graph: SHORT-TERM RESIDENT DEPARTURES, Australia—Sex ratios at age


In the year ended December 2008, short-term resident departures from Australia stated holiday (52%) as the main reason for journey, followed by visiting friends and relatives (24%) and business (13%). In comparison the main reasons for journey in the year ended December 1998 were holiday (47%), visiting friends and relatives (24%) and business (16%). During the 2008 period the median duration of stay was 15 days compared with 16 days in 1998.

The largest contributors to short-term travel overseas in the year ended December 2008 were the most populous states. Residents of New South Wales contributed the highest proportion of travellers (36%), followed by Victoria (24%), Queensland (18%), Western Australia (13%), South Australia (4%), the Australian Capital Territory (2%), Tasmania and the Northern Territory (1% each). In 1998, the state/territory of stay proportions for all short-term resident departures were mainly similar. Differences were recorded for New South Wales 40%, Queensland 15% and South Australia 5%.

In terms of the rate of movement for short-term resident departures (the number of movements per 1,000 state or territory population) there was considerable variation across the states and territories. Western Australia had the highest movement rate (359 movements per 1,000 population) followed by the Australian Capital Territory (326), New South Wales (302), Victoria (265), Queensland (243), the Northern Territory (214), South Australia (163) and Tasmania (132). Overall, the Australian movement rate was 272 movements per 1,000 population.

STATISTICAL SIGNIFICANCE

The above presentation of movements in estimates does not take into account whether the change in movement is statistically significant. Care should be taken when interpreting the impact of numeric and/or percentage change. Please see the Standard Errors section of this issue for more detail.


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