Aussies travelling overseas in 2020 - lowest in decades

Media Release

The number of Australians returning from short-term overseas trips last year fell to its lowest level in 24 years, according to data released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

In 2020, 2.8 million Australians returned home after a short-term trip, the vast majority (92 per cent) having travelled before restrictions were introduced by the Australian Government on 20 March 2020.

ABS Director of Migration Statistics, Jenny Dobak said 2020 saw a 75 per cent drop on the previous year with 8.5 million fewer trips taken by Australians.

“In a year when there was an unprecedented decrease in Australians travelling, New Zealand continued to be the leading destination accounting for 438,700 trips in 2020. The majority of these trips occurred in early 2020 before restrictions were put in place.

Indonesia was the next most popular destination (310,300 trips), followed by the United States (235,500), India (186,200) and Japan (173,000).”

(a) Top 5 destination countries based on year ending December 2020.

The median duration away for Australians was 17 days. Of the top 10 countries, those returning from India were away the longest (31 days), followed by China (28 days). The shortest durations were for residents travelling to New Zealand (11 days) and Indonesia (10 days).

Further details can be found in Overseas Arrivals and Departures, Australia - December 2020 (cat. no. 3401.0) available on the ABS website

An article on New Zealand travel to Australia during COVID-19 was released last month. see Overseas Arrivals and Departures, Australia – November 2020 (cat. no. 3401.0) available on the ABS website

Provisional January 2021 data will be available on 18 February 2021 in Overseas Travel Statistics, Provisional (cat. no. 3401.0.55.004). This is part of additional data the ABS is producing to measure the impacts of COVID-19 on Australia.

Media notes

  • Short-term trips are less than one year.
  • 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.
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