12 months on and record low travel levels continue

Media Release

Travel to Australia remains at record lows with new data released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) showing a 98 per cent drop in arrivals in February 2021 compared to the same time last year.

The Overseas Travel Statistics, Provisional data reflects the effect of COVID-19 travel restrictions on international travel, from the initial restrictions limiting travel from China in February 2020, to the full closure of Australia's borders to all non-residents and non-Australian citizens in late March 2020. 

ABS Director of Migration Statistics, Jenny Dobak, said travel restrictions had led to sustained record low levels of arrivals and departures. 

"Pre-COVID, we would typically see over a million arrivals a month. In February 2020, when the first round of restrictions were introduced, arrivals fell 30 per cent from the previous month, falling again in March 2020, before steadying to record low levels."

"This month's data shows there were 25,800 arrivals in February 2021, a fall of 19 per cent from the previous month" said Ms Dobak. 

Media notes

  • Further details can be found in Overseas Travel Statistics - Provisional (cat. no. 3401.0.55.004) available for free download on the ABS website https://www.abs.gov.au
  • This is a new publication in response to COVID-19 and the heightened interest in traveller data.
  • Information on ABS products being produced to measure the impact of COVID-19 on Australia can be found on the ABS website.
  • When reporting ABS data you must attribute the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or the ABS) as the source.
  • For media requests and interviews, contact the ABS Media Team via media@abs.gov.au (8.30am-5pm Mon-Fri).
  • Subscribe to our media release notification service to get notified of ABS media releases or publications upon their release.
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