International travel increases as restrictions ease

Media Release

There were 197,000 overseas arrivals to Australia and 229,000 overseas departures from Australia in December 2021, the highest volumes since international travel restrictions were introduced in March 2020, according to provisional data released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

ABS Director of Migration Statistics, Jenny Dobak said: “The increase can be attributed to the easing of international travel restrictions on 1 November 2021, permitting fully vaccinated Australian citizens and permanent residents to travel to and from Australia without an exemption.”

“While the number of border crossings have increased since travel restrictions were eased in November, there are still far fewer crossings than before the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, in December 2019 there were 1.9 million overseas arrivals and 2.2 million overseas departures, 10 times larger than December 2021 volumes.”

(a) Provisional data for the most recent month has not had the full quality assurance methods applied as is done for the earlier months. Provisional estimates will be revised in the next issue of this publication.

Travel volumes in November 2021 were lower than for December 2021. However, detailed data for November 2021 shows increased short-term travel for Australian residents following the November 1 restriction changes. In this month there were 26,000 short-term resident returns (monthly increase of 21,000) and 61,000 resident departures (increase of 45,000).


Further details can be found in Overseas Arrivals and Departures, Australia - November 2021 (cat. no. 3401.0) available on the ABS website.

Media notes

  • ​​​​​​To provide more timely travel data in response to COVID-19, the ABS introduced provisional estimates for one month ahead of the standard release schedule.
  • 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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