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Overseas Arrivals and Departures, Australia

Statistics on international travel, including tourism trips, arriving in and departing from Australia. Focusing on short-term trips (less than 1 year)

Reference period
July 2020
Released
11/09/2020

Key statistics

  • Overseas visitor arrivals decreased 34.6% since the previous month.
  • Australian resident returns decreased 34.7% since the previous month.
  • Overseas visitor arrivals decreased 99.6% since the same month previous year.
  • Australian resident returns decreased 99.1% since the same month previous year.

Overseas arrivals and departures statistics are international travel movements of persons arriving in, and departing from Australia with a focus on short term trips (less than 1 year). It is the number of international border crossings rather than the number of people.

For all Short-term Visitor Arrivals (STVA) and Short-term Resident Returns (STRR) series, the trend estimates have been suspended from February 2020 and the seasonally adjusted estimates have been suspended from April 2020 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on international travel. For more information, see the end of the Data Quality Issues Appendix on the Methodology page.

July 2020 original estimates for short-term trips:

  • Overseas visitor arrivals to Australia decreased 34.6% since the previous month to 3,530 trips
  • Australian resident returns from overseas decreased 34.7% since the previous month to 10,280 trips.


Note: Large percentage changes can be observed due to monthly fluctuations of small numbers

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1.3 Monthly change

 Jun '20Jul '20Jun '20 to Jul '20
% change
Visitor arrivals — short-term trips   
 Trend
na
na
na
 Seasonally adjusted
na
na
na
 Original
5 400
3 530
-34.6
Resident returns — short-term trips   
 Trend
na
na
na
 Seasonally adjusted
na
na
na
 Original
15 760
10 280
-34.7
na not available - see the end of the Data Quality Issues Appendix.

Visitor arrivals monthly

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

For all Short-term Visitor Arrivals (STVA) series, the trend estimates have been suspended from February 2020 and the seasonally adjusted estimates have been suspended from April 2020 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on international travel. For more information, see the end of the Data Quality Issues Appendix in the Methodology.

Key statistics

For visitor arrivals to Australia on short-term trips during July 2020 (original estimates):

  • There was a decrease of 99.6% when compared with the corresponding month of the previous year.
  • A total of 3,530 trips were recorded.
  • The USA was the largest source country, accounting for 15% of all visitor arrivals.
     
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Source countries

The three leading source countries for visitor arrivals to Australia in July 2020 were:

  • USA (540 trips)
  • New Zealand (500)
  • UK (410).
     
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  1. Includes the United Kingdom, Channel Islands and Isle of Man.
  2. Excludes SARs & Taiwan.
     

There were decreases of over 97% recorded for each of the top ten source countries when compared to the corresponding month of the previous year.

2.3 Short-term visitor arrivals - top 10 source countries - % change

Country of ResidenceJuly '20July '19 to July '20
% change
USA
540
-99.1
New Zealand
500
-99.6
UK(a)
410
-99.0
Hong Kong
150
-99.5
Philippines
140
-98.9
Singapore
140
-99.6
China(b)
130
-99.9
India
120
-99.5
Canada
100
-99.1
PNG
100
-97.9
a. Includes the United Kingdom, Channel Islands and Isle of Man.
b. Excludes SARs & Taiwan.

 

State or territory of stay

All travellers are asked their intended address in Australia upon arrival. State or territory of stay statistics are only available from original estimates as seasonally adjusted and trend estimates are only applied to source countries.

For those who visited Australia in July 2020, compared to the corresponding month of the previous year, there were decreases of over 99% across all states and territories.

2.4 Short-term visitor arrivals, state or territory of stay - July 2020 - % change

Short-term visitor arrivals, state or territory of stay - July 2020 - % change

2.4 Short-term visitor arrivals, state or territory of stay - July 2020 - % change

Map shows negative growth in visitor arrivals by state or territory in July 2020 compared to the same month of the previous year. Tasmania saw a decrease of -99.5%, Queensland saw a decrease of -99.6%, Western Australia saw a decrease of -99.3%, South Australia saw a decrease of -99.5%, the Australian Capital Territory saw a decrease of -99.3%, Victoria saw a decrease of -99.8%. New South Wales saw a decrease of -99.4% and the Northern Territory saw a decrease of -99.7%

2.5 Short-term visitor arrivals, state or territory of stay - % change

State or territory of stayJuly '19July '20July '19 to July '20
% change
NSW
268 050
1 570
-99.4
Vic.
201 930
310
-99.8
Qld
206 910
920
-99.6
SA
21 950
100
-99.5
WA
65 260
460
-99.3
Tas.
5 670
30
-99.5
NT
9 460
30
-99.7
ACT
11 130
80
-99.3
Australia(a)
790 380
3 530
-99.6
a. Includes Other Territories.

Resident returns monthly

Statistics on international travel movements of residents arriving back in Australia after short term trips (less than 1 year) overseas. It is the number of international border crossings rather than the number of people.

For all Short-term Resident Returns (STRR) series, the trend estimates have been suspended from February 2020 and the seasonally adjusted estimates have been suspended from April 2020 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on international travel. For more information, see the end of the Data Quality Issues Appendix in the Methodology.

Key statistics

For resident returns to Australia from short-term overseas trips during July 2020 (original estimates):

  • There was a decrease of 99.1% compared to the corresponding month of the previous year.
  • A total of 10,280 trips were recorded.
  • New Zealand was the most popular destination country, accounting for 12% of all resident returns.
     
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Destination countries

The three leading destination countries for Australian residents in July 2020 were:

  • New Zealand (1,230 trips)
  • USA (1,160)
  • UK (960).
     
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  1. Includes the United Kingdom, Channel Islands and Isle of Man.
  2. Excludes SARs & Taiwan.
     

There were decreases of over 96% recorded for each of the top ten destination countries when compared to the corresponding month of the previous year.

3.3 Short-term resident returns - top 10 destination countries - % change

Country of stayJuly '20July '19 to July '20
% change
New Zealand
1 230
-99.0
USA
1 160
-98.9
UK(a)
960
-99.0
China(b)
610
-98.6
India
390
-98.2
Malaysia
370
-98.6
Hong Kong
360
-97.9
Singapore
350
-99.1
PNG
350
-96.1
Indonesia
300
-99.8
a. Includes the United Kingdom, Channel Islands and Isle of Man.
b. Excludes SARs & Taiwan.
 

State or territory of residence

All travellers are asked their intended address in Australia upon arrival. State or territory of residence statistics are only available from original estimates as seasonally adjusted and trend estimates are only applied to destination countries.

For those residents who returned to Australia in July 2020, compared to the corresponding month of the previous year, there were decreases of over 98% across all states and territories.

3.4 Resident returns, state or territory of stay - July 2020 - % change

Resident returns, state or territory of stay - July 2020 - % change

3.4 Resident returns, state or territory of stay - July 2020 - % change

Map shows negative growth in Australian residents who returned to their home state or territory in July 2020, compared to the same month of the previous year. Western Australia saw a decrease of -99.0%, the Australian Capital Territory saw a decrease of -98.8%, Tasmania saw a decrease of -99.4%, Queensland saw a decrease of -99.0%, Victoria saw a decrease of -99.6%, New South Wales saw a decrease of -98.7%, South Australia saw a decrease of -99.4% and the Northern Territory saw a decrease of -99.4%.

3.5 Short-term resident returns, state or territory of residence - % change

State or territory of residenceJuly '19July '20July '19 to July '20
% change
NSW
370 540
4 900
-98.7
Vic.
321 280
1 270
-99.6
Qld
189 380
1 950
-99.0
SA
52 230
310
-99.4
WA
143 360
1 450
-99.0
Tas.
13 450
80
-99.4
NT
9 560
50
-99.4
ACT
22 570
260
-98.8
Australia(a)
1 122 590
10 280
-99.1
a. Includes Other Territories.

Visitor arrivals by state or territory

New South Wales

This series of feature articles provides detail of overseas traveller movements at the state and territory level. The additional information is provided in the context of the outbreak of COVID-19 which started in China in December 2019.

Visitor arrivals statistics are international travel movements of persons arriving in Australia. It is the number of trips rather than the number of people. All data in this article has used original estimates as trend and seasonally adjusted estimates are not available for all variables being analysed.

Key statistics

For visitor arrivals to New South Wales on short-term trips (less than 1 year) during July 2020:

  • There was a decrease of 99.4% when compared with the corresponding month of the previous year.
  • 1,570 short-term visitor arrivals were recorded.
  • The USA, New Zealand and the UK were the largest source countries.


Of all arrivals to New South Wales travelling on an international student visa during July 2020:

  • There was a decrease of 38,890 students (100%) when compared with the corresponding month of the previous year.
     
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For visitor arrivals to New South Wales on long-term trips (1 year or more) in July 2020:

  • There was a decrease of 99.4% compared to the corresponding month of the previous year.
  • 150 long-term visitor arrivals were recorded.
     

Source countries

The three leading source countries for visitor arrivals to New South Wales in July 2020 were:

  • USA (310 trips)
  • New Zealand (220)
  • UK (210).
     
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  1. Includes the United Kingdom, Channel Islands and Isle of Man.
  2. Excludes SARs & Taiwan.
     

There were decreases of over 96% recorded for each of the top ten source countries when compared to the corresponding month of the previous year.

4.3 Short-term visitor arrivals, NSW- top 10 source countries - % change

Country of ResidenceJuly '20July '19 to July '20
% change
USA
310
-98.9
New Zealand
220
-99.4
UK(a)
210
-98.5
Hong Kong
100
-99.1
Singapore
80
-99.2
China(b)
60
-99.9
Unit Arab Emir
50
-97.6
Canada
40
-99.0
India
40
-99.5
New Caledonia
40
-96.4
a. Includes the United Kingdom, Channel Islands and Isle of Man.
b. Excludes SARs & Taiwan.
 

For additional information relating to COVID-19 see the Recent changes Section.

International students

In July 2020 there were just over 10 arrivals to New South Wales travelling on an international student visa. This was a decrease of 100% or 38,890 students compared to the corresponding month of the previous year.

Due to the small number of movements, no further analysis has been undertaken.

Victoria

This series of feature articles provides detail of overseas traveller movements at the state and territory level. The additional information is provided in the context of the outbreak of COVID-19 which started in China in December 2019.

Visitor arrivals statistics are international travel movements of persons arriving in Australia. It is the number of trips rather than the number of people. All data in this article has used original estimates as trend and seasonally adjusted estimates are not available for all variables being analysed.

Key statistics

For visitor arrivals to Victoria on short-term trips (less than 1 year) during July 2020:

  • There was a decrease of 99.8% when compared with the corresponding month of the previous year.
  • 310 short-term visitor arrivals were recorded.
     
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For visitor arrivals to Victoria on long-term trips (1 year or more) in July 2020:

  • There was a decrease of 99.8% compared to the corresponding month of the previous year.
  • Nearly 50 long-term visitor arrivals were recorded.
     

International students

In July 2020 there were fewer than 10 arrivals to Victoria travelling on an international student visa. This was a decrease of 100% or 56,420 students compared to the corresponding month of the previous year.

Due to the small number of movements, no further analysis has been undertaken.

Queensland

This series of feature articles provides detail of overseas traveller movements at the state and territory level. The additional information is provided in the context of the outbreak of COVID-19 which started in China in December 2019.

Visitor arrivals statistics are international travel movements of persons arriving in Australia. It is the number of trips rather than the number of people. All data in this article has used original estimates as trend and seasonally adjusted estimates are not available for all variables being analysed.

Key statistics

For visitor arrivals to Queensland on short-term trips (less than 1 year) during July 2020:

  • There was a decrease of 99.6% when compared with the corresponding month of the previous year.
  • 920 short-term visitor arrivals were recorded.
  • New Zealand, the USA and PNG were the largest source countries.


Of all arrivals to Queensland travelling on an international student visa in July 2020:

  • There was a decrease of 24,220 students (100%) when compared with the corresponding month of the previous year.
     
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For visitor arrivals to Queensland on long-term trips (1 year or more) in July 2020:

  • There was a decrease of 99.6% compared to the corresponding month of the previous year.
  • Just over 40 long-term visitor arrivals were recorded.
     

Source countries

The three leading source countries for short-term visitor arrivals to Queensland in July 2020 were:

  • New Zealand (190 trips)
  • USA (90)
  • PNG (70).
     
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  1. Includes the United Kingdom, Channel Islands and Isle of Man.
     

Almost all top ten source countries decreased by over 95% when compared to the corresponding month of the previous year, with the only exception being Ukraine which decreased by 18%.

6.3 Short-term visitor arrivals, Qld - top 10 source countries - % change

Country of ResidenceJuly '20July '19 to July '20
% change
New Zealand
190
-99.7
USA
90
-99.4
PNG
70
-97.8
UK(a)
70
-99.4
Philippines
70
-95.9
India
40
-98.8
Canada
30
-98.9
Ukraine
30
-18.4
Hong Kong
20
-99.7
Unit Arab Emir
20
-99.2
a. Includes the United Kingdom, Channel Islands and Isle of Man.
 

For additional information relating to COVID-19 see the Recent changes Section.

International students

In July 2020 there were 10 arrivals to Queensland travelling on an international student visa. This was a decrease of 100% or 24,220 students compared to the corresponding month of the previous year.

Due to the small number of movements, no further analysis has been undertaken.

South Australia

This series of feature articles provides detail of overseas traveller movements at the state and territory level. The additional information is provided in the context of the outbreak of COVID-19 which started in China in December 2019.

Visitor arrivals statistics are international travel movements of persons arriving in Australia. It is the number of trips rather than the number of people. All data in this article has used original estimates as trend and seasonally adjusted estimates are not available for all variables being analysed.

Key statistics

For visitor arrivals to South Australia on short-term trips (less than 1 year) during July 2020:

  • There was a decrease of 99.5% when compared with the corresponding month of the previous year.
  • 100 short-term visitor arrivals were recorded.
     
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For visitor arrivals to South Australia on long-term trips (1 year or more) in July 2020:

  • There was a decrease of 99.5% compared to the corresponding month of the previous year
  • Nearly 20 long-term visitor arrivals were recorded.
     

International students

In July 2020 there were fewer than 10 arrivals to South Australia travelling on an international student visa. This was a decrease of 100% or 6,810 students compared to the corresponding month of the previous year.

Due to the small number of movements, no further analysis has been undertaken

Western Australia

This series of feature articles provides detail of overseas traveller movements at the state and territory level. The additional information is provided in the context of the outbreak of COVID-19 which started in China in December 2019.

Visitor arrivals statistics are international travel movements of persons arriving in Australia. It is the number of trips rather than the number of people. All data in this article has used original estimates as trend and seasonally adjusted estimates are not available for all variables being analysed.

Key statistics

For visitor arrivals to Western Australia on short-term trips (less than 1 year) during July 2020:

  • There was a decrease of 99.3% when compared with the corresponding month of the previous year.
  • 460 short-term visitor arrivals were recorded.
  • The UK, New Zealand and Indonesia were the largest source countries.


Of all arrivals to Western Australia travelling on an international student visa in July 2020:

  • There was a decrease of 9,720 students (100%) when compared with the corresponding month of the previous year.
     
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For visitor arrivals to Western Australia on long-term trips (1 year or more) in July 2020:

  • There was a decrease of 99.3% compared to the corresponding month of the previous year
  • Just over 40 long-term visitor arrivals were recorded.
     

Source countries

The three leading source countries for short-term visitor arrivals to Western Australia in July 2020 were:

  • UK (70 trips)
  • New Zealand (40)
  • Indonesia (30).
     
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  1. Includes the United Kingdom, Channel Islands and Isle of Man.
     

Although Ukraine only increased by 24% when compared to the corresponding month of the previous year this is due to changes in very small numbers. All other top ten source countries decreased by over 96%.

8.3 Short-term visitor arrivals, WA - top 10 source countries - % change

Country of ResidenceJuly '20July '19 to July '20
% change
UK(a)
70
-98.7
New Zealand
40
-99.4
Indonesia
30
-98.8
Ukraine
30
23.9
Singapore
30
-99.5
USA
30
-99.0
Philippines
30
-96.9
India
30
-98.9
Malaysia
20
-99.7
Unit Arab Emir
20
-97.2
a. Includes the United Kingdom, Channel Islands and Isle of Man.
 

For additional information relating to COVID-19 see the Recent changes Section.

International students

In July 2020 there were no arrivals to Western Australia travelling on an international student visa. This was a decrease of 100% or 9,720 students compared to the corresponding month of the previous year.

Due to the small number of movements, no further analysis has been undertaken.

Tasmania

This series of feature articles provides detail of overseas traveller movements at the state and territory level. The additional information is provided in the context of the outbreak of COVID-19 which started in China in December 2019.

Visitor arrivals statistics are international travel movements of persons arriving in Australia. It is the number of trips rather than the number of people. All data in this article has used original estimates as trend and seasonally adjusted estimates are not available for all variables being analysed.

Key statistics

For visitor arrivals to Tasmania on short-term trips (less than 1 year) during July 2020:

  • There was a decrease of 99.5% when compared with the corresponding month of the previous year.
  • Nearly 30 short-term visitor arrivals were recorded.
     
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For visitor arrivals to Tasmania on long-term trips (1 year or more) in July 2020:

  • There was a decrease of 100% compared to the corresponding month of the previous year
  • No long-term visitor arrivals were recorded.
     

International students

In July 2020 there were fewer than 10 arrivals to Tasmania travelling on an international student visa. This was a decrease of 99.9% or 1,900 students compared to the corresponding month of the previous year.

Due to the small number of movements, no further analysis has been undertaken.

Northern Territory

This series of feature articles provides detail of overseas traveller movements at the state and territory level. The additional information is provided in the context of the outbreak of COVID-19 which started in China in December 2019.

Visitor arrivals statistics are international travel movements of persons arriving in Australia. It is the number of trips rather than the number of people. All data in this article has used original estimates as trend and seasonally adjusted estimates are not available for all variables being analysed.

Key statistics

For visitor arrivals to the Northern Territory on short-term trips (less than 1 year) during July 2020:

  • There was a decrease of 99.7% when compared with the corresponding month of the previous year.
  • Nearly 30 short-term visitor arrivals were recorded.
     
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For visitor arrivals to the Northern Territory on long-term trips (1 year or more) in July 2020

  • There was a decrease of 97.3% compared to the corresponding month of the previous year
  • Nearly 20 long-term visitor arrivals were recorded.
     

International students

In July 2020 there were no arrivals to the Northern Territory travelling on an international student visa. This was a decrease of 100% or 410 students compared to the corresponding month of the previous year.

Due to the small number of movements, no further analysis has been undertaken.

Australian Capital Territory

This series of feature articles provides detail of overseas traveller movements at the state and territory level. The additional information is provided in the context of the outbreak of COVID-19 which started in China in December 2019.

Visitor arrivals statistics are international travel movements of persons arriving in Australia. It is the number of trips rather than the number of people. All data in this article has used original estimates as trend and seasonally adjusted estimates are not available for all variables being analysed.

Key statistics

For visitor arrivals to the Australian Capital Territory on short-term trips (less than 1 year) during July 2020:

  • There was a decrease of 99.3% when compared with the corresponding month of the previous year.
  • Just over 80 short-term visitor arrivals were recorded.
     
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For visitor arrivals to the Australian Capital Territory on long-term trips (1 year or more) in July 2020:

  • There was a decrease of 97.5% compared to the corresponding month of the previous year.
  • Just over 60 long-term visitor arrivals were recorded.
     

International students

In July 2020 there were fewer than 10 arrivals to Australian Capital Territory travelling on an international student visa. This was a decrease of 100% or 5,440 students compared to the corresponding month of the previous year


Due to the small number of movements, no further analysis has been undertaken

International student arrivals - Australia - Jul 2020

This feature article provides detail of overseas traveller movements at the national level for international student arrivals. The additional information is provided in the context of the outbreak of COVID-19 which was first detected in China in December 2019.

Visitor arrivals statistics are international travel movements of persons arriving in Australia. It is the number of trips rather than the number of people. All data in this article has used original estimates as trend and seasonally adjusted estimates are not available for all variables being analysed.

Key statistics

Of all arrivals to Australia travelling on an international student visa during July 2020:

  • There was a decrease of 143,810 students (-100%) when compared with the corresponding month of the previous year.
     

International students

Travel restrictions introduced from February 2020 in response to the outbreak of COVID-19 have continued to disrupt the movement of international students this month. In 2019, China was the largest source country nationally. Educational exports are an important contributor to the Australian economy.

In July 2020 there were nearly 40 arrivals to Australia travelling on an international student visa. This was a decrease of 100% or 143,810 students compared to the corresponding month of the previous year, as shown in graph 12.1 below.

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  1. International student visa holders whether it be for a short-term (less than 1 year) or long-term (1 year or more) duration. This is not the same as when a traveller self reports 'education' as their main reason for journey.
  2. English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students.

Visitor arrivals - financial year - 2019-20

Compares annual international travel arrivals overtime by source country, by state and territory, by age and sex, by main reason for journey and by median duration of trip. All analysis in this section is done on short-term trips (less than 1 year).

Key findings

Visitors arriving in Australia in 2019-20.

  • There were 6.7 million visitor arrivals, down 27.9% on the previous year and the lowest since 2013-14
  • New Zealand was the largest source country, with over 1 million visitors nationally, and the largest for Qld and Tas.
  • China was the largest for NSW, Vic., SA and the ACT, with almost 900,000 visitors nationally
  • There were more visits by women than men. Ten years earlier, the opposite was true.
  • The main reason for travel was holiday (46%)
  • Nationally, the median duration of stay in Australia was 12 days.
     

Short-term visitor arrivals

There were 6.7 million visitor arrivals in 2019-20. This was down 27.9% on the previous year with 2.6 million fewer arrivals. This was the lowest annual number of visitors since 2013-14.

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on travel to and from Australia commenced in February 2020 with the start of border entry restrictions by the Australian Government to those from mainland China. Monthly declines of nearly 100% have been recorded since the tighter border restrictions of entry or exit were introduced from 20 March 2020.

13.1 Short-term visitor arrivals by month

2019-20'000 % change(a)
Jul
790.4
 
2.1
Aug
789.2
 
6.4
Sep
695.0
 
0.7
Oct
774.0
 
2.7
Nov
815.9
 
1.7
Dec
1 077.7
 
1.9
Jan
766.6
 
4.8
Feb
685.4
 
-26.1
Mar
331.9
 
-60.3
Apr
2.2
 
-99.7
May
3.4
 
-99.5
Jun
5.4
 
-99.2
Annual total
6 737.2
 
-27.9
a. Percentage change when compared to the same period of the previous year.

 

Visitor arrivals to Australia have generally been increasing over recent decades, with a strong continuous increase over the past ten years.

  • Peaks were seen during Brisbane Expo in 1988 and the Sydney Olympics in 2000
  • Decreases were experienced during the Asian financial crisis in 1998, after the 2001 September 11 attacks in the USA, the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2003 and the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) in 2008.


However, due to the impact of COVID-19, a significant decline has been observed from February 2020 onwards. Prior to the pandemic there were a record 9.5 million visitors to Australia in the year ending January 2020.

13.2 Short-term visitor arrivals, Australia - year ending up to June 2020

Short-term visitor arrivals, Australia - year ending up to June 2020

13.2 Short-term visitor arrivals, Australia - year ending up to June 2020


This graph represents the historic peaks and troughs in short-term visitor arrivals to Australia from 1980 through to 2020.
Events impacting short-term visitor arrivals include:
Brisbane Expo in 1988;
Asian Financial Crisis in 1998;
Sydney Olympics in 2000;
2001 September 11 attacks on September 11 in 2001;
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2003;
Global Financial Crisis (GFC) in 2008;
COVID-19 outbreak from February 2020 onwards.

Graph and data - short-term visitor arrivals

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Source countries

Residents from nearly every country around the world visited Australia in 2019-20:

  • New Zealand (1.0 million visits) was the largest source country for visitor arrivals
  • China (900,000) was the second largest with strong growth (130%) over the decade
  • Short-term visitor arrivals from all top 5 source countries fell from early 2020 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
     
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  1. Top 5 source countries based on year ending June 2020.
  2. Excludes SARs & Taiwan.
  3. 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 until recent declines were recorded for all due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

13.4 Short-term visitor arrivals, Australia - top 10 source countries(a) - 2019-20

Country of Residence'0002018-19 to 2019-202009-10 to 2019-20
% change% change
New Zealand
1 028
-26.9
-7.4
China(b)
900
-37.2
130.4
USA
581
-28.4
17.7
UK(c)
562
-21.7
-17.1
Japan
375
-22.5
3.8
Singapore
316
-32.1
27.0
India
285
-23.4
122.3
Malaysia
259
-33.5
26.5
Hong Kong
227
-26.5
60.8
Korea, South
192
-31.5
-4.3
a. Top 10 source countries based on year ending June 2020.
b. Excludes SARs & Taiwan.
c. 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 2019-20, were as follows:

  • NSW (36.0% of all short-term visitors)
  • Vic. (26.5%)
  • Qld (21.6%)
  • SA (3.0%)
  • WA (9.9%)
  • Tas. (1.1%)
  • NT (0.8%)
  • ACT (1.2%).


In 2009-10 this pattern was slightly different, with more visitors intending to stay in Qld than in Vic.

All states and territories recorded growth in international visitors in the ten year period except for the Northern Territory and Queensland. Victoria had the largest growth with 655,000 more visitors.

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

During 2019-20:

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


Ten years earlier in 2009-10, New Zealand was the leading source country for NSW, Vic., Qld, and Tas. However, the UK was the leading source country for SA and WA, and the USA for the NT and ACT.

Age and sex

There were more visits to Australia by women than men in 2019-20 (3.5 million women compared with 3.2 million men). The opposite was true in 2009-10 (2.9 million men and 2.7 million women).

In 2019-20, men visiting Australia had a median age of 41 years while women visiting had a median age of 40 years. The largest group of visitor arrivals was aged between 25 and 29 years. There was a comparatively large number of 56 year old women who arrived in 2019-20. The largest source country for this age group was China. This is due to the combined effect of a large volume of Chinese visitors during the year and the demography of China with its largest age cohort of women being 56.

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Main reason for journey

In 2019-20, the most frequently stated main reason for journey by short-term visitors to Australia was:

  • Holiday (46.3%)
  • Visiting friends and relatives (30.9%)
  • Business (6.7%)
  • Education (6.9%).


Female visitors were more likely than males to record their main reason for journey as holiday (48.7% of all females compared with 43.7% of all males), visiting friends and relatives (33.5% compared with 28.0%), and education (7.0% compared with 6.8%). Male visitors, on the other hand were more likely to travel to Australia for business (10.5% of all males compared with 3.3% of all females), to attend a convention/conference (4.1% compared with 2.6%), and for employment (3.1% compared with 1.9%).

Duration of stay

Visitors are asked their intended duration in Australia upon arrival.

During 2019-20, the median duration of stay in Australia was 12 days. However, this varied between the states and territories and between the numerous source countries. It also varied depending on a traveller's main reason for journey.

In 2019-20, the median duration of days for those visiting SA was 18 days, whereas for Qld it was 10 days. Those from India (with a median duration of stay of 53 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.

13.7 Short-term visitor arrivals, Australia - top 10 source countries(a) by state/territory of stay - median duration of stay - 2019-20

 NSWVic.QldSAWATas.NTACTAust.(b)
daysdaysdaysdaysdaysdaysdaysdaysdays
India
34
61
31
76
61
91
91
62
53
UK(c)
18
20
21
22
21
22
19
20
20
China(d)
13
15
12
31
15
21
13
90
14
USA
10
12
12
14
14
14
15
12
11
Hong Kong
10
11
10
12
10
10
11
14
10
Malaysia
9
9
8
11
7
11
9
11
8
Singapore
8
9
9
10
8
11
7
9
8
Korea (South)
7
11
10
16
10
14
9
13
8
New Zealand
6
6
8
7
11
9
11
7
7
Japan
6
7
6
11
7
8
6
7
6
All countries
11
13
10
18
14
14
16
17
12
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.
d. Excludes SARs & Taiwan.

 

The median duration of stay of short-term visitors to Australia varied by their reason for journey:

  • Those travelling for education (123 days) and employment (122 days) stayed the longest
  • Visiting friends and relatives (17 days)
  • Holiday (10 days)
  • Business travellers stayed the shortest (6 days).

Resident returns - financial year - 2019-20

Compares annual international travel for resident returns overtime by destination country, by state and territory, by age and sex, by main reason for journey and by median duration of trip. All analysis in this section is done on short-term trips (less than 1 year).

Key findings

Australian residents returning to Australia in 2019-20.

  • There were 8.6 million resident returns from overseas, down 23.8% on the previous year and the lowest since 2012-13
  • New Zealand continued to be the leading destination country for Australians travelling overseas, with 1.1 million trips
  • New Zealand was the leading destination for those living in NSW, Vic., Qld, Tas. and the ACT and Indonesia for those in SA, WA and the NT
  • The main reason for travel was holiday (57%)
  • Nationally, the median duration away was 15 days.
     

Short-term resident returns

There were 8.6 million resident trips overseas in 2019-20. This was down 23.8% on the previous year with 2.7 million fewer trips taken. This was the lowest annual number of resident trips since 2012-13.

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on travel to and from Australia commenced in February 2020 with the start of border entry restrictions by the Australian Government to those from mainland China. Monthly declines of nearly 100% have been recorded since the tighter border restrictions of entry and exit were introduced from 20 March 2020.

14.1 Short-term resident returns by month

2019-20'000 % change(a)
Jul
1 122.6
 
-1.0
Aug
931.0
 
1.6
Sep
992.8
 
1.9
Oct
1 146.0
 
-0.2
Nov
849.8
 
4.9
Dec
749.7
 
2.3
Jan
1 397.4
 
0.3
Feb
785.4
 
5.3
Mar
538.4
 
-28.6
Apr
17.0
 
-98.1
May
13.4
 
-98.5
Jun
15.8
 
-98.1
Annual total
8 559.2
 
-23.8
a. Percentage change when compared to the same period of the previous year.
 

Australian residents travelling overseas have generally been increasing over recent decades, with a number of decreases observed over time due to various historical events such as the:

  • Early 1990s recession in Australia
  • September 11 terrorist attacks in 2001
  • Bali bombings in 2002
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2003
  • Global Financial Crisis (GFC) in 2008


For the past 15 years, a strong continuous increase can be seen up until March 2020 onwards due to the impact of COVID-19. Prior to the pandemic, there were 11.4 million resident trips overseas in the year ending February 2020.

14.2 Short-term resident returns, Australia - year ending up to June 2020

Short-term resident returns, Australia - year ending up to June 2020

14.2 Short-term resident returns, Australia - year ending up to June 2020


This graph represents the historic peaks and troughs in short-term resident returns to Australia from 1980 through to 2020.
Events impacting short-term resident returns include:
Early 1990's Recession in the early 1990's;
2001 September 11 attack on September 11 in 2001;
2002 Bali bombings in 2002;
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2003;
Global Financial Crisis (GFC) outbreak in 2008;
COVID-19 outbreak from February 2020 onwards.

Graph and data - short-term resident returns

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Destination countries

Australians travelled across the globe during 2019-20:

  • New Zealand (1.14 million trips) remained the leading destination country
  • Indonesia was the second most popular destination (1.08 million)
  • The USA (778,700) was the third leading destination but with a peak in 2016-17
  • Short-term resident returns from all top 5 destination countries fell from early 2020 due to the impact of COVID-19.
     
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  1. Top 5 destination countries based on year ending June 2020.
  2. Includes United Kingdom, Channel Islands and Isle of Man.
  3. Excludes SARs & Taiwan.
     

Among the top 10 destination countries, the strongest growth over the last decade was for Australians visiting Asian countries until recent declines were recorded for all due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

14.4 Short-term resident returns, Australia - top 10 destination countries(a) - 2019-20

Destination Country'0002018-19 to 2019-202009-10 to 2019-20
% change% change
New Zealand
1 145
-20.7
8.8
Indonesia
1 077
-17.9
66.4
USA
779
-27.8
22.7
UK(b)
528
-20.9
11.5
China(c)
397
-35.0
38.5
Japan
393
-18.7
128.4
Thailand
383
-32.3
-10.0
India
347
-16.6
119.3
Singapore
304
-25.1
26.8
Fiji
256
-25.9
-12.6
a. Top 10 destination countries based on year ending June 2020.
b. Includes United Kingdom, Channel Islands and Isle of Man.
c. Excludes SARs & Taiwan.
 

State or territory of residence

All travellers are asked their intended address in Australia upon arrival. The proportion of short-term resident returns by their state or territory of residence in 2019-20, were as follows:

  • NSW (33.4% of all short-term resident returns)
  • Vic. (27.4%)
  • Qld (18.3%)
  • SA (4.5%)
  • WA (12.6%)
  • Tas. (1.0%)
  • NT (0.8%)
  • ACT (1.9%).


In 2009-10, this pattern was very similar with a slightly higher proportion of those travelling overseas from NSW (35.6%) and WA (14.6%).

All states and territories recorded growth in residents taking overseas trips in the ten year period. Victoria had the largest growth with 741,000 more trips.

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At the state and territory level, the mix of destination countries varied from that at the national level.

During 2019-20:

  • New Zealand was the leading destination country for residents of NSW, Vic., Qld, Tas. and the ACT
  • Indonesia was the leading destination for those from SA, WA and the NT.


Ten years earlier in 2009-10, New Zealand was the leading destination for residents of all state and territories except for WA and the NT (for which Indonesia was the leading destination).

Age and sex

There were more trips taken overseas by Australian men than women in 2019-20 (4.4 million men compared with 4.1 million women), similar to 2009-10 (3.5 million men and 3.2 million women).

In 2019-20, Australian men and women travelling overseas had a similar median age (42 years and 40 years respectively). Among those aged 18 to 30, there were more trips undertaken by women than men.

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Main reason for journey

In 2019-20, the most frequently stated main reason for journey by Australian residents returning home after a short-term trip was:

  • Holiday (57%)
  • Visiting friends and relatives (27%)
  • Business (7%).
     

Female residents were more likely than males to record their main reason as a holiday (60% of all females compared with 55% of all males), visiting friends and relatives (29% compared with 25%) and for education (1.4% compared with 1.2%). Male residents were more likely to travel overseas for business (11% of all males compared with 4% of all females), to attend a convention/conference (3% compared with 2%), and for employment (2% compared with 1%).

Duration of stay

For Australian residents returning from overseas their exact duration away is measured.

During 2019-20, the median duration away for Australians on a short-term trip was 15 days. However, this varies between the states and territories and between the numerous destination countries. It also varies greatly depending on a traveller's main reason for journey.

In 2019-20, the median duration away overseas for Victorians, South Australians, Tasmanians and those from the ACT was 16 days, whereas for those from WA was 13 days. Those travelling to the UK and India were usually away for an average of 25 days each which was longer than all the other top 10 destinations. Those travelling to Fiji and New Zealand were away for 8 days on average.

14.7 Short-term resident returns, Australia - top 10 destination countries(a) by state/territory of residence - median duration of stay - 2019-20

 NSWVic.QldSAWATas.NTACTAust.(b)
daysdaysdaysdaysdaysdaysdaysdaysdays
UK(c)
25
26
27
26
24
32
22
26
25
India
23
27
25
29
24
21
31
25
25
China(d)
20
21
18
19
18
18
18
20
20
USA
15
17
17
18
20
19
21
16
16
Japan
14
15
14
16
15
17
16
16
15
Thailand
12
12
14
13
12
13
13
14
12
Indonesia
11
10
10
9
8
11
9
10
9
Singapore
8
9
9
10
8
11
7
9
9
New Zealand
8
8
9
11
13
12
13
9
8
Fiji
8
9
8
8
9
8
11
8
8
All countries
15
16
15
16
13
16
14
16
15
a. Top 10 destination countries are based at the Australia level.
b. Includes Other Territories.
c. Includes United Kingdom, Channel Islands and Isle of Man.
d. Excludes SARs & Taiwan.
 

The duration of stay of short-term trips by Australian residents going overseas varied by their reason for journey:

  • Those travelling for employment stayed away the longest (28 days)
  • Education (23 days)
  • Visiting friends and relatives (22 days)
  • Holiday (14 days)
  • Business travellers stayed the shortest (7 days).

Recent changes

​​​​​​​Suspension of seasonally adjusted and trend estimates from Apr and Feb 2020

The seasonally adjusted estimates have been suspended from April 2020 for all Short-term Visitor Arrival (STVA) and Short-term Resident Return (STRR) series due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on international travel.

The trend estimates have been suspended from February 2020 for all STVA and STRR series.

Both series will be reintroduced when patterns in the underlying behaviour of passenger travel movements stabilise. Original estimates can be produced and will continue to be published as usual. For more details please see paragraphs 20-35 of the Explanatory Notes in the Methodology and the ABS Feature Articles: Methods changes during the COVID-19 period (cat. no. 1359.0 for June 2020); When It's not "Business-as-usual": Implications for ABS Time Series (cat. no. 1350.0 for Aug 2009).

COVID-19 from Feb 2020

In response to the need for additional data and analysis due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ABS is releasing a series of feature articles containing additional state and territory level analysis of overseas visitor arrivals over the coming months, as well as national and state and territory information on arrivals of overseas students. See the left hand navigation pane to access information on a specific state/territory or article.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) commenced daily situation reports of the COVID-19 outbreak on 21 January 2020 and identified it as an international health emergency on 30 January. This was less than a month after suspected cases were reported in Wuhan, China. The Australian Government placed travel restrictions on those travelling to Australia initially from mainland China commencing 1 February. Other restrictions from other countries soon followed as the crisis worsened around the globe. From 20 March 2020, all overseas travel was banned, with few exceptions. For more information, see the Prime Minister's media release on border restrictions or the Smartraveller page from the Australian government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website.

Data notes

This release contains overseas movement data which should not be interpreted as 'persons'. See Explanatory Note 7 in the Methodology for more detail.

The statistics in this release have been rounded. See Explanatory Notes 36-38 in the Methodology for more detail.

Inquiries

For further information about these and related statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070. The ABS Privacy Policy outlines how the ABS will handle any personal information that you provide to the ABS.

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I-notes

  1. For all Short-term Visitor Arrivals (STVA) and Short-term Resident Returns (STRR) series, the trend estimates have been suspended from February 2020 and the seasonally adjusted estimates have been suspended from April 2020 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on international travel. For more information, see the end of the Data Quality Issues Appendix in the Methodology.
  2. For further information about the data, including updates or changes, see the Explanatory Notes section in the Methodology and the related Appendices such as Data Quality Issues.
  3. Short-term arrival movements are usually based on a sample and subject to sampling error. However, from April 2020 a full enumeration has been undertaken due to the small volume of international travel movements caused by the impact of COVID-19. See paragraphs 10-12 of the Explanatory Notes section in the Methodology.
  4. Occasionally situations occur that necessitate breaks being applied to the trend series. For an overview of the breaks currently included in the trend series, see paragraphs 32-33 of the Explanatory Notes section in the Methodology.

Table 1: Total movement, arrivals - category of movement

Table 2: Total movement, departures - category of movement

Table 3: Short-term movement, visitors arriving - selected countries of residence: trend

Table 4: Short-term movement, visitors arriving - selected countries of residence: seasonally adjusted

Table 5: Short-term movement, visitors arriving - selected countries of residence: original

Table 6: Short-term movement, visitors arriving - intended length of stay and main reason for journey: original

Table 7: Short-term movement, residents returning - selected destinations: trend

Table 8: Short-term movement, residents returning - selected destinations: seasonally adjusted

Table 9: Short-term movement, residents returning - selected destinations: original

Table 10: Short-term movements, residents returning - length of stay and main reason for journey: original

Table 11: Short-term movement, visitors arriving - state of intended stay: original

Table 12: Short-term movement, residents returning - state of intended stay: original

All data cubes

Previous catalogue number

This release previously used catalogue number 3401.0