3401.0 - Overseas Arrivals and Departures, Australia, Aug 2019 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 15/10/2019   
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International travel - short-term visitor arrivals to Australia - 2018-19

Statistics on travel movements of persons arriving in Australia for short term trips (i.e. less than 1 year). It is the number of international border crossings rather than the number of people.

Key statistics

In 2018-19, there were 9.3 million short-term visitor arrivals to Australia from overseas, the highest year on record.

  • China was the largest source country with over 1.4 million visitors nationally, it was also the largest source for NSW, Vic, SA, Tas. and the ACT
  • There were more visits to Australia by women than men (4.9 million women compared with 4.5 million men)
  • The main reason for travel was holiday (47%)
  • Although the median duration of stay in Australia was 11 days, it was longer in SA (17 days) and shorter in Qld (10 days).

Short-term visitor arrivals

The record annual 9.3 million visitors in 2018-19 was 3.8 million more than 10 years earlier and 272,300 more than 1 year ago. There has generally been an ongoing increase of visitor arrivals to Australia over recent decades.
  • Peaks were seen during Brisbane Expo in 1988 and the Sydney Olympics in 2000
  • Decreases were experienced during the Asian financial crisis from 1998, the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak from 2002 and the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) in 2008.
  • Australia experienced strong increases during 2016 and 2017.


1.1 Short-term visitor arrivals, Australia — June 1979 to June 2019 — year ending
Graph: 1.1 Short-term visitor arrivals, Australia — June 1979 to June 2019 — year ending

Source countries

Residents from nearly every country around the world visited Australia in 2018-19. China (1.43 million) remained the largest source country of short-term visitor arrivals with New Zealand (1.41 million) in second place. This reflects strong growth in the number of Chinese visitors over the decade, with a 303% increase since 2008-09. However, this growth has slowed more recently.

1.2 Short-term visitor arrivals, Australia — Top 5 source countries(a) — June 1979 to June 2019 — year ending
Graph: 1.2 Short-term visitor arrivals, Australia — Top 5 source countries(a) — June 1979 to June 2019 — year ending
(a) Top 5 source countries based on year ending June 2019.
(b) Includes United Kingdom, Channel Islands and Isle of Man.

Among the top 10 source countries, there was also strong growth from other Asian countries over the last decade (Table 1.3 below).

1.3 Short-term visitor arrivals, Australia — Top 10 source countries(a) — 2018-19 — year ending


'000
2017-18 to 2018-19
2008-09 to 2018-19
Country of Residence
% change
% change

China
1433
0.8
303.4
New Zealand
1407
2.6
28.3
USA
812
3.1
78.1
UK(b)
719
-3.2
5.7
Japan
484
9.5
20.4
Singapore
465
7.4
96.0
Malaysia
389
-1.1
105.5
India
372
11.1
230.3
Hong Kong
310
3.7
125.2
Korea, South
281
-7.8
42.2

(a) Top 10 source countries based on year ending June 2019.
(b) Includes United Kingdom, Channel Islands and Isle of Man.

State or Territory of stay

All travellers are asked their intended address in Australia upon arrival. The proportion of short-term visitor arrivals by intended state or territory in 2018-19, were as follows:
  • NSW (37% of all short-term visitors)
  • Vic. (26%)
  • Qld (22%)
  • SA (3%)
  • WA (9%)
  • Tas. (1.0%)
  • NT (0.8%)
  • ACT (1.1%).

In 2008-09 this pattern was slightly different, with more visitors intending to stay in Qld than in Vic. The NT had a slightly higher number of visitors 10 years earlier whereas all other jurisdictions shared the growth in international visitors.

1.4 Short-term visitor arrivals, Australia — State/Territory of Stay — 2008-09 and 2018-19
Graph: 1.4 Short-term visitor arrivals, Australia — State/Territory of Stay — 2008-09 and 2018-19

At the state and territory level, the mix of source countries varies from that at the national level.

During 2018-19:
  • China was the leading source country for NSW, Vic., SA, Tas. and the ACT
  • New Zealand provided the most visitors for Qld
  • The UK for WA
  • The USA for the NT.

Ten years earlier in 2008-09, New Zealand was the leading source country for NSW, Vic., Qld, Tas & the ACT. However, the UK was leading for SA & WA, and the USA for the NT.

Age and sex

There were more visits to Australia by women than men in 2018-19 (4.9 million women compared with 4.5 million men). The opposite was true in 2008-09 (2.8 million men and 2.7 million women).

In 2018-19, men and women visiting Australia had a similar median age (41 years for men and 40 years for women). The largest group of visitor arrivals were aged between 25 and 29 years. There were also large numbers of women arriving aged 55 with the largest source country being from China at this age.


1.5 Short-term visitor arrivals, Australia — Age and Sex — 2018-19
Graph: 1.5 Short-term visitor arrivals, Australia — Age and Sex — 2018-19
Main reason for journey

In 2018-19, the most frequently stated main reason for journey by short-term visitors to Australia was:

  • holiday (47%)
  • visiting friends and relatives (30%)
  • business (7.3%)
  • education (6.5%)

Female visitors were more likely than males to record their main reason for journey as holiday (26% compared with 21%), visiting friends and relatives (17% compared with 13%), and education (3.4% compared with 3.1%). Male visitors, on the other hand were more likely to travel to Australia for business (5.5% compared with 1.8%).

Duration of stay

Visitors are asked their intended duration in Australia upon arrival.

During 2018-19, the median duration of stay in Australia was 11 days. However, this varies between the states and territories and between the numerous source countries. It also varies depending on a traveller's main reason for journey.

In 2018-19, the median duration of days for those visiting SA was 17 days, whereas for Qld it was 10 days. Those from India (40 days) stated their intention to stay longer than most others but this also varied between the states and territories. Those from Japan only visited for 6 days on average.

1.6 Short-term visitor arrivals, Australia — Top 10 source countries(a) by State/Territory of stay — Median duration of stay — 2018-19

NSW
Vic.
Qld
SA
WA
Tas.
NT
ACT
Aust.(b)
days
days
days
days
days
days
days
days
days

India
31
46
30
66
62
61
62
61
40
UK(c)
17
20
21
21
21
21
21
19
20
China
12
14
11
30
16
21
13
91
13
USA
10
12
12
14
14
14
16
11
11
Hong Kong
10
10
10
12
10
10
10
11
10
Malaysia
9
9
8
11
7
11
8
11
8
Singapore
8
9
9
10
8
11
7
9
8
Korea (South)
7
10
10
17
12
10
8
12
7
New Zealand
6
6
8
8
11
9
12
6
7
Japan
6
7
6
11
8
8
7
8
6
All countries
11
12
10
17
13
13
15
17
11

(a) Top 10 source countries are based at the Australia level.
(b) Includes Other Territories.
(c) Includes United Kingdom, Channel Islands and Isle of Man.

The duration of stay of short-term visitors to Australia varied by their reason for journey:
  • Those travelling for education stayed the longest (123 days)
  • employment (116 days)
  • visiting friends and relatives (16 days)
  • holiday (9 days)
  • business travellers stayed the shortest (6 days).