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Overseas Arrivals and Departures, Australia

Statistics on international travel arriving in and departing from Australia.

Reference period
March 2022
Released
12/05/2022
  • Next Release 15/06/2022
    Overseas Arrivals and Departures, Australia, April 2022
  • Next Release 12/07/2022
    Overseas Arrivals and Departures, Australia, May 2022
  • Next Release 16/08/2022
    Overseas Arrivals and Departures, Australia, June 2022
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Key statistics

In March 2022:

  • Arrivals: 374,630 – a monthly increase of 103,370 trips. 

  • Departures: 335,240 – a monthly increase of 158,980 trips. 

These statistics report on the number of international border crossings rather than the number of people. Most data in this release are rounded to the nearest 10. As a result, sums of components may not add exactly to totals.

July 2021 to February 2022 data revised

The ABS identified a data quality issue with the source data which affected the state and territory of stay/residence data.  As a result, Overseas Arrivals and Departures data from July 2021 to February 2022 has been revised and released in this month’s (March 2022) publication. For further information see Methodology page in the History of changes section for the year 2022. 

Overseas Migration Statistics

This release presents statistics on all overseas arrivals and departures, which is not the same as overseas migration statistics.

If you are looking for ABS statistics on overseas migration, please refer to:

Arrivals and departures

(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 data will be revised in the next issue of this publication.

(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 data will be revised in the next issue of this publication.

Provisional Estimates

To provide more timely travel data in response to COVID-19, provisional estimates for total overseas arrivals and total overseas departures are now included in Graphs 1.1, 1.2 and 1.3. Additional provisional data are available under the Data downloads for State of clearance (Table 13), Country of citizenship (Table 14), and Visa group (Table 15). No further breakdowns of provisional data are available, other than those which appear in this release.

(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.

1.4 Arrivals and departures by category of travel - monthly change(a)
 Mar-19Mar-21Feb-22Mar-22Monthly change Feb-22 to Mar-22
Category of travel(no.)(no.)(no.)(no.)(no.)
Permanent arrivals(b)9,2803,0607,6807,960290
Australian resident returns(c)     
    long-term10,9809,34015,48019,1503,670
    short-term753,5109,250116,860146,34029,470
Overseas visitor arrivals(d)     
    long-term50,0302,02050,50039,460-11,040
    short-term836,3508,32080,740161,72080,980
TOTAL ARRIVALS1,660,14031,990271,260374,630103,370
Australian resident departures(c)     
    long-term25,0602,93033,37060,51027,140
    short-term818,41012,24095,300168,55073,250
Overseas visitor departures(d)     
    long-term18,61012,21021,75027,9206,170
    short-term822,2403,93025,85078,27052,420
TOTAL DEPARTURES1,684,32031,310176,260335,240158,980

a. Category of travel data is not available from provisional estimates.
b. Permanent arrivals (settlers) comprise: travellers who hold permanent visas, New Zealand citizens who indicate on their passenger card an intention to migrate permanently, and those who are otherwise identified as eligible to settle.
c. Australian resident includes Australian citizens, permanent visa holders residing in Australia, and any New Zealand citizens who can be identified as a resident.
d. An overseas visitor is any traveller arriving to, or departing from, Australia who is not an Australian resident.
NOTE: Long-term are travellers who have been away or in Australia for 12 months or more. Short-term are travellers who have been away or in Australia for less than 12 months.

Visitor arrivals - short-term

Compares international visitor arrivals each month by source country and change at the state and territory level. Analysis in this section is undertaken on short-term trips (less than 1 year).

For visitor arrivals to Australia:

  • A total of 161,720 short-term trips were recorded, an increase of 153,410 compared with the corresponding month of the previous year
  • The number of trips for March 2022 was 80.7% lower than the pre-COVID level in March 2019
  • The UK was the largest source country, accounting for 17% of all visitor arrivals.
     

Countries where visitors came from

The three leading source countries where visitors came from were:

  • The UK (27,460 trips)
  • New Zealand (18,680)
  • India (15,140).

Details

(a) Top 10 source countries based on month ending March 2022.
(b) Excludes SARs and Taiwan.

2.3 Short-term visitor arrivals - Top 10 source countries(a)
Country of ResidenceMar 2019 (no.)Mar 2021 (no.)Feb 2022 (no.)Mar 2022 (no.)Feb 2022 to Mar 2022 change
UK74,00081013,42027,46014,030
New Zealand109,9202,0604,66018,68014,020
India33,9904009,39015,1405,750
USA89,1801,1106,59014,3807,790
Singapore38,6103205,18013,4908,310
Canada22,6801202,5704,9602,380
Germany21,9701502,0504,5802,530
China(b)124,3702605,0704,260-810
Malaysia30,3201001,4902,9101,420
France11,430901,8202,690870

(a) Top 10 source countries based on month ending March 2022.
(b) Excludes SARs and Taiwan.

State or territory of stay

All travellers are asked their intended address in Australia upon arrival. For March 2022, the highest number of visitor arrivals was observed for New South Wales (59,440) whilst the Northern Territory recorded the fewest (650). 

Details

    2.4 Short-term visitor arrivals, State or territory of stay - March 2022

    2.4 Short-term visitor arrivals, State or territory of stay - March 2022

    2.4 Short-term visitor arrivals, State or territory of stay - March 2022

    Data is shown in Table 2.5 below
    2.5 Short-term visitor arrivals, State or territory of stay
    State or territory of stayMar 2019 (no.)Mar 2021 (no.)Feb 2022 (no.)Mar 2022 (no.)Feb 2022 to Mar 2022 change
    NSW314,0104,13031,36059,44028,080
    Vic.234,4301,28025,62044,81019,190
    Qld166,4201,37013,73029,78016,060
    SA24,7002103,8006,3402,540
    WA74,8107802,60016,15013,550
    Tas.8,7301208101,670860
    NT4,920360950650-300
    ACT8,280801,8602,840990
    Australia(a)836,3508,32080,740161,72080,980

    (a) Includes Other Territories.
     

    Visitor arrivals - short-term - state and territory

    Compares international visitor arrivals each month by source country for each state and territory. The additional information is being provided during the COVID-19 pandemic. Analyses in this section are undertaken on short-term trips (less than 1 year) unless otherwise stated.

    New South Wales

    For visitor arrivals to New South Wales:

    • There were 59,440 short-term visitor arrivals, an increase of 55,310 compared with the corresponding month of the previous year
    • The number of trips for March 2022 was 81.1% lower than the pre-COVID level in March 2019.

    Countries where visitors came from

    The three leading source countries for New South Wales were:

    • The UK (9,620 trips)
    • The USA (6,930)
    • New Zealand (6,430).

    (a) Top 10 source countries based on month ending March 2022.
    (b) Excludes SARs and Taiwan.

    3.3 Short-term visitor arrivals, NSW - Top 10 source countries(a)
    Country of ResidenceMar 2019 (no.)Mar 2021 (no.)Feb 2022 (no.)Mar 2022 (no.)Feb 2022 to Mar 2022 change
    UK25,3904205,3509,6204,270
    USA48,2405103,1006,9303,830
    New Zealand33,8101,1701,6106,4304,810
    India10,6801503,0404,9301,890
    Singapore9,7401801,7004,0102,310
    Canada9,410401,0501,970930
    China(b)47,2801302,2101,830-380
    Germany9,020808401,690850
    Nepal1,70006001,190590
    Korea, South17,680408501,150300

    (a) Top 10 source countries based on month ending March 2022.
    (b) Excludes SARs and Taiwan.
     

    Long-term visitor arrivals

    For visitors arriving in New South Wales for a long-term trip (1 year or more):

    • There were 15,120 arrivals, an increase of 14,030 compared with the corresponding month of the previous year
    • The number of trips for March 2022 was 17.9% lower than the pre-COVID level in March 2019.

    Victoria

    For visitor arrivals to Victoria:

    • There were 44,810 short-term visitor arrivals, an increase of 43,530 compared with the corresponding month of the previous year
    • The number of trips for March 2022 was 80.9% lower than the pre-COVID level in March 2019.

    Countries where visitors came from

    The three leading source countries for Victoria were:

    • India (6,580 trips)
    • The UK (6,200)
    • New Zealand (4,840).

    (a) Top 10 source countries based on month ending March 2022.
    (b) Excludes SARs and Taiwan.

    4.3 Short-term visitor arrivals, Vic. - Top 10 source countries(a)
    Country of ResidenceMar 2019 (no.)Mar 2021 (no.)Feb 2022 (no.)Mar 2022 (no.)Feb 2022 to Mar 2022 change
    India14,160904,2806,5802,290
    UK18,9101003,5306,2002,680
    New Zealand32,6303601,3604,8403,480
    Singapore11,440402,0904,4302,340
    USA18,4301201,5703,2501,670
    China(b)45,860901,6701,320-340
    Malaysia11,050108101,280470
    Germany5,900205901,200610
    Indonesia5,140106101,120520
    Canada5,610305501,000450

    (a) Top 10 source countries based on month ending March 2022
    (b) Excludes SARs and Taiwan.

    Long-term visitor arrivals

    For visitors arriving in Victoria for a long-term trip (1 year or more):

    • There were 11,720 arrivals, an increase of 11,390 compared with the corresponding month of the previous year
    • The number of trips for March 2022 was 34.8% lower than the pre-COVID level in March 2019.

    Queensland

    For visitor arrivals to Queensland:

    • There were 29,780 short-term visitor arrivals, an increase of 28,410 compared with the corresponding month of the previous year
    • The number of trips for March 2022 was 82.1% lower than the pre-COVID level in March 2019.

    Countries where visitors came from

    The three leading source countries for Queensland were:

    • The UK (5,650 trips)
    • New Zealand (5,490)
    • The USA (2,040).
       

    (a) Top 10 source countries based on month ending March 2022.
    (b) Excludes SARs and Taiwan.

    5.3 Short-term visitor arrivals, Qld - Top 10 source countries(a)
    Country of ResidenceMar 2019 (no.)Mar 2021 (no.)Feb 2022 (no.)Mar 2022 (no.)Feb 2022 to Mar 2022 change
    UK12,6301402,6705,6502,980
    New Zealand32,5403601,3205,4904,160
    USA13,6301109302,0401,110
    Singapore4,770307301,700970
    India4,350801,0601,450380
    Canada5,130306201,260650
    Germany3,05020370840460
    South Africa1,37030240560320
    China(b)20,920205605600
    Philippines1,95030350530180

    (a) Top 10 source countries based on month ending March 2022.
    (b) Excludes SARs and Taiwan.

    Long-term visitor arrivals

    For visitors arriving in Queensland for a long-term trip (1 year or more):

    • There were 5,510 arrivals, an increase of 5,300 compared with the corresponding month of the previous year
    • The number of trips for March 2022 was 9.7% lower than the pre-COVID level in March 2019.

    South Australia

    For visitor arrivals to South Australia:

    • There were 6,340 short-term visitor arrivals, an increase of 6,130 compared with the corresponding month of the previous year
    • The number of trips for March 2022 was 74.3% lower than the pre-COVID level in March 2019.

    Countries where visitors came from

    The three leading source countries for South Australia were:

    • The UK (1,290 trips)
    • India (810)
    • The USA (600).

    (a) Top 10 source countries based on month ending March 2022.
    (b) Excludes SARs and Taiwan.

    6.3 Short-term visitor arrivals, SA- Top 10 source countries(a)
    Country of ResidenceMar 2019 (no.)Mar 2021 (no.)Feb 2022 (no.)Mar 2022 (no.)Feb 2022 to Mar 2022 change
    UK3,040407401,290540
    India1,42010510810300
    USA1,88020290600310
    Singapore94020310440130
    New Zealand3,08020130410290
    China(b)4,110102102100
    Canada710013021080
    Germany1,010012018060
    Malaysia680109014050
    Vietnam43005011060

    (a) Top 10 source countries based on month ending March 2022.
    (b) Excludes SARs and Taiwan.

    Long-term visitor arrivals

    For visitors arriving in South Australia for a long-term trip (1 year or more):

    • There were 2,050 arrivals, an increase of 2,010 compared with the corresponding month of the previous year
    • The number of trips for March 2022 was 12.7% lower than the pre-COVID level in March 2019.

    Western Australia

    For visitor arrivals to Western Australia:

    • There were 16,150 short-term visitor arrivals, an increase of 15,380 compared with the corresponding month of the previous year
    • The number of trips for March 2022 was 78.4% lower than the pre-COVID level in March 2019.

    Countries where visitors came from

    The three leading source countries for Western Australia were:

    • The UK (4,110 trips)
    • Singapore (2,570)
    • New Zealand (1,020).

    (a) Top 10 source countries based on month ending March 2022.
     

    7.3 Short-term visitor arrivals, WA - Top 10 source countries(a)
    Country of ResidenceMar 2019 (no.)Mar 2021 (no.)Feb 2022 (no.)Mar 2022 (no.)Feb 2022 to Mar 2022 change
    UK12,420907104,1103,390
    Singapore10,650501702,5702,400
    New Zealand5,2901001101,020910
    India2,40060190800610
    USA3,15040190770580
    Philippines1,08050100560460
    Germany2,3502060550490
    Ireland1,1901080480390
    Malaysia9,4401050440400
    Indonesia3,3604040360320

    (a) Top 10 source countries based on month ending March 2022.

    Long-term visitor arrivals

    For visitors arriving in Western Australia for a long-term trip (1 year or more):

    • There were 3,530 arrivals, an increase of 3,340 compared with the corresponding month of the previous year
    • The number of trips for March 2022 was 1.1% lower than the pre-COVID level in March 2019.

    Tasmania

    For visitor arrivals to Tasmania:

    • There were 1,670 short-term visitor arrivals, an increase of 1,550 compared with the corresponding month of the previous year
    • The number of trips for March 2022 was 80.9% lower than the pre-COVID level in March 2019.

    Countries where visitors came from

    The three leading source countries for Tasmania were:

    • The UK (230 trips)
    • New Zealand (210)
    • Singapore (200).

    (a) Top 10 source countries based on month ending March 2022.
    (b) Excludes SARs and Taiwan.

    8.3 Short-term visitor arrivals, Tas. - Top 10 source countries(a)
    Country of ResidenceMar 2019 (no.)Mar 2021 (no.)Feb 2022 (no.)Mar 2022 (no.)Feb 2022 to Mar 2022 change
    UK7701014023080
    New Zealand1,0502040210170
    Singapore500090200110
    USA1,510080190110
    India18003011080
    Nepal300207050
    France1200206050
    Canada3100506010
    Germany2300205030
    China(b)8700304010

    (a) Top 10 source countries based on month ending March 2022.
    (b) Excludes SARs and Taiwan.

    Long-term visitor arrivals

    For visitors arriving in Tasmania for a long-term trip (1 year or more):

    • There were 430 arrivals, an increase of 400 compared with the corresponding month of the previous year
    • The number of trips for March 2022 was 7.7% lower than the pre-COVID level in March 2019.

    Northern Territory

    For visitor arrivals to the Northern Territory:

    • There were 650 short-term visitor arrivals, an increase of 290 compared with the corresponding month of the previous year
    • The number of trips for March 2022 was 86.8% lower than the pre-COVID level in March 2019.

    Countries where visitors came from

    The three leading source countries for the Northern Territory were:

    • The USA (120 trips)
    • The UK (80)
    • India (60).

    (a) Top 10 source countries based on month ending March 2022.

    9.3 Short-term visitor arrivals, NT - Top 10 source countries(a)
    Country of ResidenceMar 2019 (no.)Mar 2021 (no.)Feb 2022 (no.)Mar 2022 (no.)Feb 2022 to Mar 2022 change
    USA1,070300160120-40
    UK24009080-20
    India2800306030
    Philippines1700204030
    New Zealand33020204020
    Singapore2300203010
    Nepal200102010
    Indonesia1801002020
    Japan450002020
    Timor-Leste10005020-30

    (a) Top 10 source countries based on month ending March 2022.

    Long-term visitor arrivals

    For visitors arriving in the Northern Territory for a long-term trip (1 year or more):

    • There were 320 arrivals, an increase of 280 compared with the corresponding month of the previous year
    • The number of trips for March 2022 was 22.8% lower than the pre-COVID level in March 2019.

    Australian Capital Territory

    For visitor arrivals to the Australian Capital Territory:

    • There were 2,840 short-term visitor arrivals, an increase of 2,770 compared with the corresponding month of the previous year
    • The number of trips for March 2022 was 65.6% lower than the pre-COVID level in March 2019.

    Countries where visitors came from

    The three leading source countries for the Australian Capital Territory were:

    • The USA (470 trips)
    • India (390)
    • The UK (290).
       

    (a) Top 10 source countries based on month ending March 2022.
    (b) Excludes SARs and Taiwan.

    10.3 Short-term visitor arrivals, ACT- Top 10 source countries(a)
    Country of ResidenceMar 2019 (no.)Mar 2021 (no.)Feb 2022 (no.)Mar 2022 (no.)Feb 2022 to Mar 2022 change
    USA1,26010250470220
    India51010230390160
    UK56010180290100
    New Zealand1,1902060230160
    Singapore32007011040
    Canada2400609030
    Nepal400309060
    China(b)1,000032090-230
    Indonesia1400306030
    Germany2500306030

    (a) Top 10 source countries based on month ending March 2022.
    (b) Excludes SARs and Taiwan.

    Long-term visitor arrivals

    For visitors arriving in the Australian Capital Territory for a long-term trip (1 year or more):

    • There were 770 arrivals, an increase of 680 compared with the corresponding month of the previous year
    • The number of trips for March 2022 was 2% higher than the pre-COVID level in March 2019.

    Visitor arrivals - short-term - Calendar year 2021

    Compares annual international travel arrivals over time 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).

    For the most recent analysis by financial year see the Article Archive section at the bottom of the lefthand navigation bar.

    July 2021 to February 2022 data revised

    The ABS identified a data quality issue with the source data which affected the state and territory of stay/residence data.  As a result, Overseas Arrivals and Departures data from July 2021 to February 2022 has been revised and released in this month’s (March 2022) publication. For further information see Methodology page in the History of changes section for the year 2022.

    Visitors arriving in Australia in 2021:

    • There were 246,240 visitor arrivals, down 86.5% on the previous year
    • New Zealand was the largest source country, accounting for 96,740 visitors nationally
    • The main reason for travel was 'Visiting friends/relatives' (60.1%). A year ago it was 'Holiday' (43.2%)
    • Nationally, the median duration of stay in Australia was 30 days.

    Effects of COVID-19 outbreak

    On 30 January 2020, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the COVID-19 outbreak a public health emergency of international concern. Initially the Australian Government placed travel restrictions on those travelling to Australia from mainland China commencing 1 February 2020 and restrictions on other countries soon followed. From 20 March 2020, all overseas travel was banned, with few exceptions. The pandemic has continued to disrupt international travel with volumes at a record low in 2021.

    From 1 November 2021, the Australian Government began to ease international travel restrictions with some fully vaccinated groups. Initially, Australian citizens and permanent residents were permitted to travel to and from Australia without exemption. This was then extended to citizens from additional countries and eligible visa holders.

    Annual visitor arrivals

    There were 246,240 visitor arrivals in 2021. This was down 86.5% on the previous year with 1.6 million fewer arrivals.

    The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in substantial declines in travel movements since the introduction of border restrictions in March 2020. International travel restrictions began to ease in November 2021, resulting in an increase in arrivals. 

    11.1 Short-term visitor arrivals by month
    2021'000Change ('000)(a)
    Jan7.99-758.60
    Feb6.26-679.15
    Mar8.32-323.57
    Apr22.6120.36
    May36.1932.75
    Jun36.7731.38
    Jul18.7215.20
    Aug6.393.36
    Sep4.430.71
    Oct4.41-1.66
    Nov20.8613.29
    Dec73.2964.47
    Annual Total246.24-1,581.48

    (a) Numerical 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 in the ten years up to 2019. However, due to the impact of COVID-19, a substantial decline has been observed from February 2020 onwards.

    Peaks were seen during the:

    • Brisbane Expo in 1988
    • Sydney Olympics in 2000.

    Decreases were experienced during the:

    • Asian financial crisis in 1998
    • 2001 September 11 attacks in the USA
    • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2003
    • Global Financial Crisis (GFC) in 2008
    • global COVID-19 pandemic starting in 2020. 

    Countries where visitors came from

    Travel restrictions have resulted in a change in the source countries of visitors to Australia.

    In 2021:

    • Short-term visitor arrivals for all top 5 source countries are lower when compared with the previous year, due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic
    • New Zealand (96,740 visits) was the largest source country for visitor arrivals
    • The UK (21,890) was the second largest.

    In 2020, New Zealand was the largest and China the second largest.

    (a) Top 5 source countries based on year ending December 2021.

    Among the top 10 source countries, there was strong growth from Asian countries over the last decade. Recent declines for these countries are due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Annual arrivals of visitors travelling for a short-term trip dropped by 9.2 million since 2019. China saw the largest drop (1.4 million) of any country in 2021.

    At the beginning of the decade China had recorded strong annual growth rates in the number of visitors arriving for a short-term trip, averaging 18 percent per year. In 2019, this had slowed to 0.5 percent. This decline of growth was before any travel restrictions were put in place due to COVID-19.

    Pacific Islanders made up a larger proportion of Australia’s arrivals than in previous years. A combination of the drop in arrivals from all other countries and the use of seasonal worker programs to cover labour shortages meant the Pacific nation of Vanuatu was higher than usual on the list of source countries.

    11.4 Short-term visitor arrivals, Australia — Top 10 source countries(a) — 2021
    Country of Residence'0002020 to 2021 change ('000)2011 to 2021 change ('000)
    New Zealand96.74-145.72-1,070.07
    UK21.89-178.90-615.47
    USA16.74-171.95-452.53
    Singapore15.82-42.49-250.37
    India12.96-71.01-136.20
    China(b)6.53-201.16-534.01
    Vanuatu4.881.07-5.34
    Philippines4.45-22.09-61.44
    Canada3.28-49.02-127.54
    Germany3.13-49.89-157.27
    ALL COUNTRIES246.24-1,581.48-5,626.07

    (a) Top 10 source countries based on year ending December 2021.
    (b) Excludes SARs and Taiwan.

    State or territory of stay

    All travellers are asked their intended address in Australia upon arrival. 

    Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, state borders and airports have been closed to international visitors at different times.

    The proportion of Australia's short-term visitor arrivals by intended state or territory in 2021 were as follows:

    • NSW (45.0% of all short-term visitors)
    • Vic. (22.5%)
    • Qld (19.2%)
    • SA (2.5%)
    • WA (6.1%)
    • Tas. (1.7%)
    • NT (1.4%)
    • ACT (1.6%). 

    All states recorded growth in international visitors in the ten year period up to early 2020. In comparison, the territories experienced fluctuations in visitor numbers, particularly the Northern Territory. All states and territories observed a considerable drop in visitor numbers in 2021.

    At the state and territory level, the mix of source countries varies from that at the national level. During 2021:

    • Due to the trans-Tasman travel bubble, New Zealand provided the most visitors to all states except the NT
    • The USA was the largest provider of visitors to the NT

    Ten years earlier in 2011, New Zealand was the leading source country for NSW, Vic., Qld, SA, and Tas. However, the USA was the leading source country for the NT and ACT, and the UK was the leading source country for WA.

    Age and sex

    There were more visits to Australia by men than women in 2021 (130,590 men compared with 115,650 women). The same was true in 2011 (3.0 million men and 2.8 million women).

    In 2021 male visitors had a median age of 40 years, whereas female visitors had a median age of 45 years. The largest group of visitor arrivals was aged between 25 and 29 years, with the largest source country for this age group being New Zealand.

    Main reason for journey

    In 2021, the most frequently stated main reason for journey by short-term visitors to Australia was:

    • Visiting friends/relatives (60.1%)
    • Employment (9.2%)
    • Holiday (8.7%)

    (a) As a percentage of all short-term visitor arrivals.

    Female visitors were more likely than males to record their main reason for journey as ‘visiting friends or relatives’ or ‘holiday’. Male visitors were more likely to record ‘business’ or ‘employment’.

    During the pandemic and associated travel restrictions there has been an increase in travellers recording ‘Other’ as their main reason for journey. 

    11.8 Short-term visitor arrivals, Australia — Main reason for journey and Sex — 2021
    Males (%)Females (%)
    Visiting friends/relatives49.771.9
    Employment13.24.7
    Business12.93.5
    Holiday8.49.0
    Education3.43.4
    Convention/conference0.90.7
    Exhibition0.10.1
    Other11.36.7
    Total100.0100.0

    Duration of stay

    Visitors are asked their intended duration in Australia upon arrival.

    During 2021, the median duration of stay in Australia had increased to 30 days from 14 days the year before. This is due to the impact of COVID-19 on travel behaviour and a much smaller volume of travellers making the data more volatile.

    The median duration varied between the states and territories and between the numerous source countries.

    11.9 Short-term visitor arrivals, Australia — Top 10 source countries(a) by State/Territory of stay — Median duration of stay (days) — 2021
    NSWVic.QldSAWATas.NTACTAust.(b)
    Vanuatu2742742742742742742748274
    India122122161236092619292
    China(c)91979192921529113492
    Canada394291626945226150
    Germany434061616185913545
    UK363562626262623541
    USA303161405141623431
    Philippines559015913161629131
    Singapore302161504522623128
    New Zealand111210131710211211
    All countries303115483792623830

    (a) Top 10 source countries have been calculated at the Australia level.
    (b) Includes Other Territories.
    (c) Excludes SARs and Taiwan.

    In 2021, among the states and territories the median duration was the:

    • highest in Tas at 92 days 
    • lowest in Qld at 15 days.

    Those from Vanuatu (with a median duration of stay of 9 months) stated much longer intended durations of stay than most others, but this also varied between the states and territories. Many of these visitors were seasonal workers.

    Those from New Zealand only visited for 11 days on average, but this was up from 7 days recorded from the year before.

    The median duration of stay of short-term visitors to Australia varied according to reason for journey. Those travelling for:

    • education and employment (both 182 days) stayed the longest
    • exhibition (40 days)
    • visiting friends/relatives (30 days)
    • business (26 days)
    • a holiday (13 days)
    • a convention/conference stayed the shortest (12 days).

    Arrivals - international students

    Compares international student arrivals each month by visa type for each state and territory and nationally. It includes both those whose intended duration is short-term (less than 1 year) or long-term (1 year or more). The additional information is being provided during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

    Australia

    • In March 2022 there were 28,230 international student arrivals to Australia, an increase of 28,000 students compared with the corresponding month of the previous year
    • The number of student arrivals in March 2022 was 60.9% lower than the pre-COVID level in March 2019.

    (a) 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.
    (b) English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students.

    New South Wales

    • In March 2022 there were 10,930 international student arrivals to New South Wales, an increase of 10,810 students compared with the corresponding month of the previous year
    • The number of student arrivals in March 2022 was 55.3% lower than the pre-COVID level in March 2019.

    (a) 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.
    (b) English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students.

    Victoria

    • In March 2022 there were 8,460 international student arrivals to Victoria, an increase of 8,420 students compared with the corresponding month of the previous year
    • The number of student arrivals in March 2022 was 72.2% lower than the pre-COVID level in March 2019.

    (a) 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.
    (b) English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students.

    Queensland

    • In March 2022 there were 4,180 international student arrivals to Queensland, an increase of 4,140 students compared with the corresponding month of the previous year
    • The number of student arrivals in March 2022 was 50.1% lower than the pre-COVID level in March 2019.

    (a) 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.
    (b) English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students.

    South Australia

    • In March 2022 there were 1,520 international student arrivals to South Australia, an increase of 1,500 students compared with the corresponding month of the previous year
    • The number of student arrivals in March 2022 was 64.8% lower than the pre-COVID level in March 2019.

    (a) 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.
    (b) English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students.

    Western Australia

    • In March 2022 there were 2,300 international student arrivals to Western Australia, an increase of 2,290 students compared with the corresponding month of the previous year
    • The number of student arrivals in March 2022 was 21.3% lower than the pre-COVID level in March 2019.

    (a) 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.
    (b) English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students.

    Tasmania

    • In March 2022 there were 250 international student arrivals to Tasmania, an increase of 250 students compared with the corresponding month of the previous year
    • The number of student arrivals in March 2022 was 56.1% lower than the pre-COVID level in March 2019.

    (a) 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.
    (b) English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students.

    Northern Territory

    • In March 2022 there were 130 international student arrivals to the Northern Territory, an increase of 130 students compared with the corresponding month of the previous year
    • The number of student arrivals in March 2022 was 42.3% lower than the pre-COVID level in March 2019.

    (a) 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.
    (b) English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students.

    Australian Capital Territory

    • In March 2022 there were 450 international student arrivals to the Australian Capital Territory, an increase of 450 students compared with the corresponding month of the previous year
    • The number of student arrivals in March 2022 was 45.4% lower than the pre-COVID level in March 2019.

    (a) 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.
    (b) English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students.

    Resident returns - short-term

    Compares international resident returns each month by destination country and change at the state and territory level. Analysis in this section is undertaken on short-term trips (less than 1 year).

    For residents returning from overseas:

    • A total of 146,340 short-term trips were recorded, an increase of 137,080 compared with the corresponding month of the previous year
    • The number of trips for March 2022 was 80.6% lower than the pre-COVID level in March 2019

    • India was the most popular destination country, accounting for 13% of all resident returns.

    Destination countries

    The three leading destination countries residents returned from were:

    • India (19,410 trips)
    • The USA (18,940)
    • The UK (11,360).

    Details

    (a) Top 10 destination countries based on month ending March 2022.

    13.3 Short-term resident returns - Top 10 destination countries(a)
    Country of StayMar 2019 (no.)Mar 2021 (no.)Feb 2022 (no.)Mar 2022 (no.)Feb 2022 to Mar 2022 change
    India37,86078020,40019,410-1,000
    USA61,41059012,79018,9406,150
    UK23,2904808,19011,3603,170
    Fiji20,010507,38011,2103,820
    New Zealand134,7801,7601,4809,4507,970
    Singapore34,5602505,2206,8401,620
    Thailand41,6601503,8906,4202,540
    Pakistan3,4703307,4705,290-2,180
    Unit Arab Emir4,7901803,3303,800460
    Canada9,0201203,1503,610470

    (a) Top 10 destination countries based on month ending March 2022.

    State or territory of residence

    All travellers are asked their intended address in Australia upon arrival.  For March 2022, the highest number of resident returns were observed for New South Wales (59,780) whilst the Northern Territory recorded the fewest (600). 

    Details

      13.4 Short-term resident returns, State or territory of residence - March 2022

      13.4 Short-term resident returns, State or territory of residence - March 2022

      13.4 Short-term resident returns, State or territory of residence - March 2022

      Data is shown in Table 13.5 below
      13.5 Short-term resident returns, State or territory of residence
      State or territory of residenceMar 2019 (no.)Mar 2021 (no.)Feb 2022 (no.)Mar 2022 (no.)Feb 2022 to Mar 2022 change
      NSW251,0804,59051,30059,7808,480
      Vic.199,7801,82040,66046,8906,230
      Qld147,0601,36012,79021,6308,840
      SA33,8402603,7205,1301,410
      WA93,4809304,4608,3203,850
      Tas.8,07070690850150
      NT6,4907052060080
      ACT13,6301502,6903,090400
      Australia(a)753,5109,250116,860146,34029,470

      (a) Includes Other Territories.
       

      Resident returns - short-term - Calendar year 2021

      Compares annual international travel for resident returns over time 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).

      For the most recent analysis by financial year see the Article Archive section at the bottom of the lefthand navigation bar. 

      July 2021 to February 2022 data revised

      The ABS identified a data quality issue with the source data which affected the state and territory of stay/residence data.  As a result, Overseas Arrivals and Departures data from July 2021 to February 2022 has been revised and released in this month’s (March 2022) publication. For further information see Methodology page in the History of changes section for the year 2022.

      Australian residents returning to Australia in 2021:

      • There were 300,840 resident returns from overseas, down 89.4% on the previous year and the lowest calendar year on record.
      • New Zealand continued to be the leading destination country for Australians travelling overseas, accounting for 159,710 trips nationally
      • The main reason for travel was 'visiting friends/relatives' (53.4%)
      • Nationally, the median duration away was 17 days.

      Effects of COVID-19 outbreak

      On 30 January 2020 the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the COVID-19 outbreak a public health emergency of international concern. Initially the Australian Government placed travel restrictions on those travelling to Australia from mainland China commencing 1 February 2020 and restrictions on other countries soon followed. From 20 March 2020, all overseas travel was banned, with few exceptions. The pandemic has continued to disrupt international travel with volumes at a record low in 2021.

      From 1 November 2021, the Australian Government began to ease international travel restrictions with some fully vaccinated groups. Initially, Australian citizens and permanent residents were permitted to travel to and from Australia without exemption. This was then extended to citizens from additional countries and eligible visa holders.

      Annual resident returns

      There were 300,840 resident trips overseas in 2021. This was down 89.4% on the previous year with 2.5 million fewer trips taken. This was the lowest annual number of resident trips in a calendar year on record. 

      The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in substantial declines in travel movements since the introduction of border restrictions in March 2020. International travel restrictions began to ease in November 2021, resulting in an increase in resident returns.

      14.1 Short-term resident returns by month
      2021'000Change ('000)(a)
      Jan11.35-1,386.07
      Feb8.39-777.00
      Mar9.25-529.11
      Apr16.99-0.06
      May62.3648.98
      Jun50.4934.74
      Jul41.8331.55
      Aug10.312.24
      Sep6.04-2.12
      Oct5.07-6.09
      Nov25.9112.91
      Dec52.8338.53
      Annual Total300.84-2,531.51

      (a) Numerical 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
      • global COVID-19 pandemic starting in 2020.

       

      A substantial decline has been observed from March 2020 onward 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.

      Destination countries

      In 2021: 

      • Short-term resident returns for all top 5 destination countries continue to be low due to the impact of COVID-19
      • New Zealand (159,710 trips) was the leading destination country
      • The USA (17,070) was the second most popular destination
      • The UK (14,690) was the third leading destination.

      (a) Top 5 destination countries based on year ending December 2021.

      Among the top 10 destination countries, the strongest growth over the last decade was for Australians visiting Asian countries. Recent declines for these countries are due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

      14.4 Short-term resident returns, Australia — Top 10 destination countries(a) — 2021
      Destination country'0002020 to 2021 change ('000)2011 to 2021 change ('000)
      New Zealand159.71-278.95-928.58
      USA17.07-218.43-798.47
      UK14.69-132.24-501.80
      India11.73-174.45-177.41
      Fiji8.71-58.01-328.42
      Singapore6.42-81.73-279.09
      PNG4.80-19.51-73.47
      China(b)4.84-117.28-351.32
      United Arab Emirates4.39-13.42-31.23
      Pakistan4.10-18.22-12.19
      ALL COUNTRIES300.84-2,531.51-7,465.08

      (a) Top 10 source countries based on year ending December 2021.
      (b) Excludes SARs and Taiwan.

      State or territory of residence

      All travellers are asked their intended address in Australia upon arrival.

      Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of state borders and airports have been closed to international visitors at different times.

      The proportion of short-term residents returning from a short-term trip to Australia by their state or territory of residence in 2021 were as follows:

      • NSW (49.8% of all short-term resident returns)
      • Vic. (21.9%)
      • Qld (16.5%)
      • SA (2.4%)
      • WA (6.3%)
      • Tas. (0.8%)
      • NT (0.6%)
      • ACT (1.7%).

      In 2011 the proportions were different especially for the two most populated states, with those travelling overseas from NSW accounting for 35.1% of all visitors and Vic. accounting for 24.7%.

      Most states and territories recorded growth in residents taking overseas trips in the ten year period up to early 2020. Western Australia, however, remained flat from 2014 until the impact of the pandemic. While the Northern Territory wavered during the decade and had started to decline in the year before COVID-19. However, there was a considerable drop for all states and territories from March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

      At the state and territory level, the mix of destination countries is similar to that at the national level.

      During 2021 New Zealand was the leading destination country for residents of all states due to the trans-Tasman travel bubble.

      Ten years earlier in 2011, New Zealand was the leading destination for residents of all states and territories except for SA, 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 2021 (165,550 men compared with 135,290 women). In 2011, there was also more trips taken by men than women (4.1 million men compared with 3.7 million women).

      In 2021, Australian men and women travelling overseas had a similar median age (41 years and 38 years respectively). Among those aged 20 to 29, women took more trips than men.

       

      Main reason for journey

      In 2021, the most frequently stated main reason for journey by Australian residents returning home after a short-term trip was:

      • Visiting friends/relatives (53.4%)
      • Holiday (16.4%)
      • Business (11.1%).

      (a) As a percentage of all short-term resident returns.

      Female resident returns were more likely than males to record their main reason for journey as ‘visiting friends/relatives’ or ‘other’. Male residents were more likely to record ‘business’ or ‘employment’.

      During the pandemic and associated travel restrictions there has been an increase in travellers recording 'Other' as their main reason for journey. 

      14.8 Short-term resident returns, Australia — Main reason for journey and Sex — 2021
      Main reason for journeyMales (%)Females (%)
      Visiting friends/relatives46.562.0
      Business16.05.2
      Holiday15.917.0
      Employment10.74.1
      Education1.31.5
      Convention/conference0.80.5
      Exhibition0.10.1
      Other8.79.6
      Total100.0100.0

      Duration of stay

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

      During 2021, the median duration away for Australians on a short-term trip was 17 days, the same as the year before. In 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic, the median duration was 15 days. 

      The median duration varied between the states and territories and between the numerous destination countries.

      14.9 Short-term resident returns, Australia — Top 10 destination countries(a) by State/Territory of Residence — Median duration of stay (days) — 2021
      NSWVic.QldSAWATas.NTACTAust.(b)
      China(c)15215715215615119051143155
      Pakistan851081081121041441477398
      PNG6764696160635210866
      India53508758101611253758
      USA364770678196693046
      UK353282678566473143
      Singapore311863788838261530
      Unit Arab Emir222476368048371727
      New Zealand91110111611181010
      Fiji788711768252288
      All countries152216313518362717

      (a) Top 10 source countries have been calculated at the Australia level.
      (b) Includes Other Territories.
      (c) Excludes SARs and Taiwan.

      In 2021, among the states and territories the median duration away overseas was the:

      • highest for those who lived in NT at 36 days
      • lowest in NSW at 15 days.

      Residents visiting China (with a median duration of 155 days) stayed away the longest compared to other top 10 destination countries. 

      Those residents travelling to Fiji only visited for 8 days on average, this was shorter than the other top 10 destinations.

      The duration of stay of short-term trips by Australian residents going overseas varied according to reason for journey. Those travelling for:

      • education stayed away the longest (142 days)
      • employment (72 days)
      • exhibition (20 days)
      • visiting friends/relatives (17 days)
      • business (16 days)
      • convention/conference (10 days)
      • a holiday stayed the shortest (9 days).

      Recent changes

      July 2021 to February 2022 data revised

      In early 2022, the ABS identified a data quality issue, with the state and territory of stay/residence being implausibly high for NSW. The issue was identified as being due to the capture and coding of state or territory of stay/residence from incoming passenger cards from July 2021 onwards.  To fix this issue, the ABS worked with Home Affairs and the Australian Border Force and arranged for the affected cards to be re-processed and re-supplied. 

      Revised Overseas Arrivals and Departures data from July 2021 to February 2022 was released in the March 2022 issue. All time series spreadsheets and data files were revised. For the difference between revised and previously published data for short-term visitor arrivals and short-term resident returns by state or territory of residence/stay, see Methodology page in the History of changes section for the year 2022.

      COVID-19 from Feb 2020

      In response to the need for additional data and analysis due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ABS will continue to release a series of feature articles containing additional state and territory level analysis of overseas visitor arrivals, 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.

      On 30 January 2020, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the COVID-19 outbreak a public health emergency of international concern. Initially the Australian Government placed travel restrictions on those travelling to Australia from mainland China commencing 1 February 2020 and restrictions on other countries soon followed. From 20 March 2020, all overseas travel was banned, with few exceptions. The pandemic has continued to disrupt international travel.

      From 1 November 2021, the Australian Government began to ease international travel restrictions with some fully vaccinated groups. Initially, Australian citizens and permanent residents were permitted to travel to and from Australia without exemption. This was then extended to citizens from additional countries and eligible visa holders.

      Data notes

      This release contains overseas movement data which should not be interpreted as 'persons'. See the Scope section, paragraph 1 in the Methodology for more detail.

      The statistics in this release have been rounded. See the Confidentiality section in the Methodology for more detail.

      Inquiries

      For inquiries about these and related statistics, contact the Customer Assistance Service via the ABS website Contact Us page. The ABS Privacy Policy outlines how the ABS will handle any personal information that you provide to the ABS.

      Data downloads

      I-notes

      1. The ABS identified a data quality issue with the source data which affected the state and territory of stay/residence data.  As a result, Overseas Arrivals and Departures data from July 2021 to February 2022 has been revised and released in this month’s (March 2022) publication. For further information see Methodology page in the History of changes section for the year 2022.

      2. 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 Seasonally adjusted and trend estimates section in the Methodology page associated with this release.

      3. The quality of the imputation used to estimate duration of stay for some resident departures has been impacted by changed travel behaviour during COVID-19 travel restrictions. The proportional split between short-term resident departures and long-term resident departures has been impacted. Where possible, instead of departure volumes, we recommend clients use short-term resident returns and long-term resident returns for greater accuracy. For more information on how this variable is imputed, please see paragraph 28 of the Imputations and derivations section of the Methodology page.

      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 paragraph 14 of the Seasonally adjusted and trend estimates section in the Methodology.

      5. For further information about the data, including updates or changes, see the Methodology page.

      Time series spreadsheets

      Data files

      Data Explorer datasets

      Two Overseas Arrivals and Departures datasets are available in Data Explorer.

      ABS.Stat is no longer an active service and the datasets are now available in Data Explorer. 
      The data available in Data Explorer is the same as in ABS.Stat but with a new interface and added functionality.

      Caution: Data in Data Explorer is currently released after the 11:30am release on the ABS website. Please check the reference period when using Data Explorer.

      For information on Data Explorer and how it works, see the Data Explorer user guide.

      Previous catalogue number

      This release previously used catalogue number 3401.0