Overseas Arrivals - Unprecedented Fall in 2019-20

Media Release

Australia recorded 6.7 million overseas visitor arrivals for the year 2019-20, down 27.9 per cent on the previous year and the lowest since 2013-14, according to data released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The impact of COVID-19 on travel to Australia commenced in February 2020, with the start of border restrictions by the Australian Government. Prior to this the nation set a record with 9.5 million visitors for the year ending January 2020.

ABS Director of Migration Statistics Jenny Dobak said: "Over the last year there were increases every month until February 2020 when the impact of COVID-19 started.

"Once the tighter restrictions came into effect on the 20 March, the drop in visitors arriving was dramatic, being close to 100 per cent."

Short-term visitor arrivals by month

2019-20'000% change(a)
Dec1 077.71.9
Annual total6 737.2-27.9

a. Percentage change when compared to the same period of the previous year.

During 2019-20, New Zealand was the largest source country with over 1 million visitors. This was followed by China (900,000) and the USA (581,000).

For the year, the average duration of stay for visitors arriving on a short-term trip was 12 days. Of the top 10 source countries, those travelling from India stayed the longest (53 days on average), followed by the UK (20 days). The shortest durations were for Japan (6 days) and New Zealand (7 days).

Further details can be found in Overseas Arrivals and Departures, Australia (cat. no. 3401.0) available on the ABS website https://www.abs.gov.au

Provisional July data will soon be available on 17 August. The ABS now releases' data from a temporary monthly publication called Overseas Travel Statistics, Provisional, July 2020 (cat. no. 3401.0.55.004). This is part of the additional data the ABS is producing to measure the impacts of COVID-19 on Australia.

Media notes

  • Short-term trip is less than 1 year.
  • The ABS is producing additional data to measure the impact of COVID-19 on Australia. Further information is available 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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