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Australia's International Travel - 2018
In 2018, there were 42.1 million movements across Australia’s international border. This is an increase of 5% from 2017, when there were 40 million crossings, and an increase of 76% from 2008 (23.9 million crossings). The majority of movements in 2018 were by air (99%), with the remainder by sea.
The total number of movements in 2018 were fairly evenly split between arrivals and departures, with slightly more arrivals (21.1 million versus 20.9 million).
The busiest month for travel in 2018 was December (4.0 million movements), followed by January and July. May was least busy (3.0 million movements).
The busiest days of the week for travel were Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, with Tuesdays having the fewest movements.
The busiest day on Australia's borders in 2018 was Saturday, 22 December, with 154,290 movements, while the least busy day was Tuesday, 22 May, with 81,560 movements.
MOVEMENTS ACROSS AUSTRALIA'S BORDER, by day, 2018
SHORT-TERM VISITOR ARRIVALS
SHORT-TERM VISITOR ARRIVALS, Australia, 2008 to 2018
In 2018, 9.2 million overseas residents arrived in Australia for a short-term stay. The most popular month was December (1.1 million short-term arrivals) and the least popular was May (609,450).
For the first time, China (1.43 million) overtook New Zealand (1.39 million) to become the largest source of short-term visitor arrivals. That reflects strong growth in the number of Chinese visitors in recent years, with a 304% increase since 2008, when there were 354,370 arrivals. In 1998 there were 76,540 arrivals from China. Arrivals from India and Malaysia also increased strongly over the past decade, at 229% and 142% respectively. Amongst the major source countries, arrivals from Japan had the lowest growth, with a 3% increase since 2008.
SHORT-TERM VISITOR ARRIVALS, Country of residence, year ending Jan 1998 to Dec 2018
Overall, more women than men visited Australia in 2018 (4.8 million women compared with 4.4 million men), while the opposite was true in 2008 (2.9 million men and 2.7 million women).
In 2018, men and women visiting Australia had a similar median age (40.9 years for men and 40.4 years for women). The largest groups of visitor arrivals were aged between 25 and 29 years.
SHORT-TERM VISITOR ARRIVALS, Age and sex, 2018
Main reason for journey and duration of stay
In 2018, the most frequently stated main reason for journey by short-term visitors to Australia was holiday (47%), followed by visiting friends and relatives (30%), business (7%) and education (6%). Female visitors were more likely than males to state their main reason for journey was a holiday (50% compared with 44%) and visiting friends and relatives (33% compared with 27%), while male visitors were more likely to travel to Australia for business (12% compared with 3%).
The median duration of stay in Australia was 11 days. Short-term visitors who travelled to Australia for education had the longest median duration of stay (123 days), while business travellers had the shortest (6 days). Visitors whose main reason for stay was holiday had a shorter median duration of stay (9 days) than those visiting friends and relatives (16 days).
State of stay
New South Wales was the intended state of stay for 38% of short-term visitors to Australia in 2018. Around a quarter of visitors intended to stay in Victoria (26%), followed by Queensland (22%) and with smaller proportions of visitors in Western Australia (9%), South Australia (3%), the Australian Capital Territory (1%), Tasmania (1%) and the Northern Territory (1%). In 2008 this pattern was slightly different, with more visitors intended to stay in Queensland than in Victoria.
SHORT-TERM VISITOR ARRIVALS, State of stay, 2008 and 2018
SHORT-TERM RESIDENT RETURNS
SHORT-TERM RESIDENT RETURNS, Australia, 2008 to 2018
In 2018, 11.1 million Australians returned from short-term overseas trips. The most popular month for travel was January (1.3 million returns), and the least popular was February (709,020).
New Zealand remains the most popular destination, as it has been over the last ten years, with Australians making 1.4 million journeys there in 2018. Returns from Indonesia and Japan increased strongly over the past decade, at 233% and 213% respectively.
Age and Sex
While short-term visitors to Australia were more likely to be women in 2018, Australian residents returning from short-term overseas visits were more likely to be men (52%) than women (48%).
The median age of Australian residents returning from short-term overseas trips was older for men (42.3 years) than for women (41.0 years). For women, overseas trips around 'milestone' birthdays were relatively common, particularly at ages 40 (84,440 movements), 50 (98,020) and 60 (87,040).
SHORT-TERM RESIDENT RETURNS, Age and sex, 2018
Main reason for journey and duration of stay
The most frequently stated main reason for journey for Australian residents returning from short-term overseas visits in 2018 was holiday (57%), followed by visiting friends and relatives (26%), and business (8%). Women were more likely than men to report their overseas trip was for holiday (61% compared with 54%) and visiting friends and relatives (27% compared with 24%), while men were more likely to report their overseas trip was for business (12% compared with 4%).
The median duration of overseas trips in 2018 was 15 days, a day shorter than in 2008 (16 days).
State of residence
New South Wales was the state of residence for 34% of Australian residents returning from short-term visits overseas in 2018, followed by Victoria (27%), Queensland (18%) and Western Australia (13%). As might be expected, smaller proportions of residents returned to the states and territories with smaller populations: South Australia (4%), the Australian Capital Territory (2%), Tasmania (1%) and the Northern Territory (1%).
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