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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
March 2020
Released
12/05/2020

Key statistics

  • Overseas visitor arrivals decreased 51.9% since the previous month.
  • Australian resident returns decreased 23.3% since the previous month.
  • Overseas visitor arrivals decreased 60.3% since the same month previous year.
  • Australian resident returns decreased 28.6% 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.

The trend estimates have been suspended from February 2020 for all Short-term Visitor Arrivals (STVA) and Short-term Resident Returns (STRR) series 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.

March 2020 seasonally adjusted estimates for short-term trips:

  • Overseas visitor arrivals to Australia decreased 51.9% since the previous month to 307,900 trips
  • Australian resident returns from overseas decreased 23.3% since the previous month to 706,200 trips.
     
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  Mar '20Feb '20 to Mar '20
  '000% change
Visitor arrivals — short-term trips  
 Trendnana
 Seasonally adjusted307.9-51.9
 Original331.9..
Resident returns — short-term trips  
 Trendnana
 Seasonally adjusted706.2-23.3
 Original538.4..

na not available - see the end of the Data Quality Issues Appendix.
.. not applicable
 

1.3 Monthly change

Visitor arrivals monthly

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

The trend estimates have been suspended from February 2020 for all Short-term Visitor Arrivals (STVA) series 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.

Key statistics

Visitors arriving in Australia for a short-term trip in March 2020 (original estimates):

  • Decreased 60.3% since the same month the previous year, the largest decrease on record
  • Reported New Zealand as the largest source country, accounting for 15% of all visitor arrivals.
     
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  1. For more information see Explanatory Notes 19-34 on the Methodology page.

Source countries (original estimates)

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

  • New Zealand (48,200 trips)
  • UK (39,400)
  • USA (34,300).
     
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  1. Includes the United Kingdom, Channel Islands and Isle of Man.  
  2. Excludes SARs & Taiwan.
     

Among the top ten source countries, there were no annual increases recorded.

The highest annual decreases were recorded for:

  • China (-77.5%)
  • Japan (-75.1%)
  • Malaysia (-68.5%)
     
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 Seasonally adjustedOriginalMar '19 to Mar '20
Country of Residence'000'000% change - original
New Zealand52.048.2-56.2
UK(b)29.439.4-46.8
USA27.234.3-61.5
China(c)27.827.9-77.5
India18.220.1-40.8
Japan10.013.3-75.1
Singapore13.113.0-66.3
Germany9.111.8-46.4
Canada7.210.1-55.4
Malaysia9.59.5-68.5

a. Top 10 source countries based on original estimates.
b. Includes the United Kingdom, Channel Islands and Isle of Man.
c. Excludes SARs & Taiwan.
 

2.3 Visitor arrivals - top 10 source countries(a) - annual change

State or territory of stay (original estimates)

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 March 2020, compared to the same month of the previous year, there were decreases across all states and territories, the largest being:

  • the Northern Territory with 66.0% fewer visitors
  • New South Wales (-63.5%)
  • Queensland (-62.7%).
     

    2.4 Visitor arrivals, state or territory of stay - annual change to March 2020 (original estimates)

    2.4 Visitor arrivals, state or territory of stay - annual change to March 2020 (original estimates)

    2.4 Visitor arrivals, state or territory of stay - annual change to March 2020 (original estimates)

    Map shows negative growth in visitor arrivals by state or territory in March 2020 compared to the same month of the previous year. Tasmania saw a decrease of -50.7%, Queensland saw a decrease of -62.7%, Western Australia saw a decrease of -52.6%, South Australia saw a decrease of -53.8%, the Australian Capital Territory saw a decrease of -43.3%, Victoria saw a decrease of -58.4%. New South Wales saw a decrease of -63.5% and the Northern Territory saw a decrease of -66.0%.
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     Mar '19Mar '20Mar '19 to Mar '20
    State or territory of stay'000'000% change - original
    NSW314.0114.5-63.5
    Vic.234.497.6-58.4
    Qld166.462.1-62.7
    SA24.711.4-53.8
    WA74.835.5-52.6
    Tas.8.74.3-50.7
    NT4.91.7-66.0
    ACT8.34.7-43.3
    Australia(b)836.3331.9-60.3

    a. Only available from original estimates.
    b. Includes Other Territories.

    2.5 Visitor arrivals, state or territory of stay(a) - annual change to March 2020 (original estimates)

    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.

    The trend estimates have been suspended from February 2020 for all Short-term Resident Returns (STRR) series 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.

    Key statistics

    In March 2020, Australian residents returning from a short-term trip overseas (original estimates):

    • Decreased 28.6% since the same month the previous year, the largest decrease on record
    • Reported New Zealand as the most popular destination country, accounting for 18% of all those returning.
       
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    1. For more information see Explanatory Notes 19-34 on the Methodology page.

    Destination countries (original estimates)

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

    • New Zealand (99,300 trips)
    • Indonesia (71,800)
    • USA (53,800).
       
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    1. Includes the United Kingdom, Channel Islands and Isle of Man.
       

    Among the top ten destination countries, the only annual increase was recorded for:

    • UK (28.0%)
       

    The highest annual decreases were recorded for:

    • Vietnam (-46.1%)
    • Philippines (-30.5%)
    • Thailand (-30.2%)
       
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     Seasonally adjustedOriginalMar '19 to Mar '20
    Country of stay'000'000% change - original
    New Zealand88.399.3-26.3
    Indonesia84.871.8-21.8
    USA79.053.8-12.5
    UK(b)71.829.828.0
    Thailand33.229.1-30.2
    India26.028.5-24.6
    Japan31.827.9-18.5
    Vietnam14.615.8-46.1
    Philippines15.014.6-30.5
    Fiji19.714.2-29.2

    a. Top 10 destination countries based on original estimates.
    b. Includes the United Kingdom, Channel Islands and Isle of Man.
     

    3.3 Resident returns - top 10 destination countries(a) - annual change

    State or territory of residence (original estimates)

    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 March 2020, compared to the same month of the previous year, there were decreases across all states and territories, the largest being:

    • Tasmania with 36.6% fewer travelling home
    • the Australian Capital Territory (-32.9%)
    • New South Wales (-31.8%).
       

      3.4 Resident returns, state or territory of residence - annual change to March 2020 (original estimates)

      3.4 Resident returns, state or territory of residence - annual change to March 2020 (original estimates)

      3.4 Resident returns, state or territory of residence - annual change to March 2020 (original estimates)

      Map shows negative growth in Australian residents who returned to their home state in March 2020, compared to the same month of the previous year. Western Australia saw a decrease of -30.2%, the Australian Capital Territory saw a decrease of -32.9%, Tasmania saw a decrease of -36.6%, Queensland saw a decrease of -19.3%, Victoria saw a decrease of -29.8%, New South Wales saw a decrease of -31.8%, South Australia saw a decrease of -30.4% and the Northern Territory saw a decrease of -25.3%.
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       Mar '19Mar '20Mar '19 to Mar '20
      State or territory of residence'000'000% change - original
      NSW251.1171.3-31.8
      Vic.199.8140.3-29.8
      Qld147.1118.7-19.3
      SA33.823.6-30.4
      WA93.565.3-30.2
      Tas.8.15.1-36.6
      NT6.54.9-25.3
      ACT13.69.1-32.9
      Australia(b)753.5538.4-28.6

      a. Only available from original estimates.
      b. Includes Other Territories.
       

      3.5 Resident returns, state or territory of residence(a) - annual change to March 2020 (original estimates)

      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

      Visitors arriving in New South Wales for a short-term trip (less than 1 year) in March 2020:

      • Decreased 63.5% since the same month previous year
      • Largest source countries were USA, UK and New Zealand
      • China had the largest decrease (-80.7%).
         

      Of all arrivals to New South Wales travelling on an international student visa in March 2020, there was a:

      • Decrease of 4,850 students (-20%) compared to the same month in the previous year.
         
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      Source countries

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

      • USA (16,500 trips)
      • UK (13,900)
      • New Zealand (13,300).
         
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      1. Includes the United Kingdom, Channel Islands and Isle of Man.
      2. Excludes SARs & Taiwan.

      Among the top ten source countries, no annual increases were recorded.

      The largest annual decreases were recorded for:

      • China (-80.7%)
      • Japan (-76.9%)
      • Hong Kong (-71.8%).
         
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       Mar '20Mar '19 to Mar '20
      Country of Residence'000% change
      USA16.5-65.7
      UK(b)13.9-45.3
      New Zealand13.3-60.7
      China(c)9.1-80.7
      India5.6-47.9
      Germany4.8-47.0
      Canada3.8-59.2
      Japan3.7-76.9
      Singapore3.3-65.9
      Hong Kong2.6-71.8

      a. Top 10 source countries based on original estimates.
      b. Includes the United Kingdom, Channel Islands and Isle of Man.
      c. Excludes SARs & Taiwan.
       

      4.3 Visitor arrivals, NSW - top 10 source countries(a) - annual change - original estimates

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

      International students

      The outbreak of COVID-19 which started in China in December 2019, has continued to disrupt the movement of international students this month, due to the introduction of travel restrictions in February 2020. In 2019, China was the largest source country nationally. Educational exports are an important contributor to the Australian economy.

      Of all arrivals to New South Wales travelling on an international student visa in March 2020, there was a decrease of 4,850 students (-20%) compared to the same month in the previous year.

      The highest numeric decreases were for:

      • the Higher Education sector, with 2,230 fewer students (-13%)
      • the Vocational Education and Training sector, with 1,500 fewer students (-38%)
      • the Independent ELICOS sector, with 710 fewer students (-43%).
         
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      1. Includes short-term (less than 1 year) and long-term (1 year or more) visitor arrivals.
      2. English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students.

      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

      Visitors arriving in Victoria for a short-term trip (less than 1 year) in March 2020:

      • Decreased 58.4% since the same month previous year
      • Largest source countries were New Zealand, China and UK
      • China had the largest decrease (-77.5%).
         

      Of all arrivals to Victoria travelling on an international student visa in March 2020, there was a:

      • Decrease of 6,410 students (-21%) compared to the same month in the previous year.
         
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      Source countries

      The three leading source countries for visitor arrivals to Victoria in March 2020 were:

      • New Zealand (14,300 trips)
      • China (10,300)
      • UK (10,200).
         
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      1. Excludes SARs & Taiwan.
      2. Includes the United Kingdom, Channel Islands and Isle of Man.

      Among the top ten source countries, no annual increases were recorded.

      The largest annual decreases were recorded for:

      • China (-77.5%)
      • Malaysia (-65.4%)
      • Singapore (-63.2%)
         
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       Mar '20Mar '19 to Mar '20
      Country of Residence'000% change
      New Zealand14.3-56.2
      China(b)10.3-77.5
      UK(c)10.2-45.9
      India9.5-33.1
      USA7.9-57.3
      Singapore4.2-63.2
      Malaysia3.8-65.4
      Germany3.0-49.1
      Canada2.5-54.5
      Indonesia2.5-50.5

      a. Top 10 source countries based on original estimates.
      b. Excludes SARs & Taiwan.
      c. Includes the United Kingdom, Channel Islands and Isle of Man.
       

      5.3 Visitor arrivals, Vic. - top 10 source countries(a) - annual change - original estimates

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

      International students

      The outbreak of COVID-19 which started in China in December 2019, has continued to disrupt the movement of international students this month, due to the introduction of travel restrictions in February 2020. In 2019, China was the largest source country nationally. Educational exports are an important contributor to the Australian economy.

      Of all arrivals to Victoria travelling on an international student visa in March 2020, there was a decrease of 6,410 students (-21%) compared to the same month in the previous year.

      The highest numeric increase was for:

      • the Schools sector, with 120 more students (48%)
         

      The highest numeric decreases were for:

      • the Higher Education sector, with 4,850 fewer students (-19%)
      • the Vocational Education And Training sector, with 690 fewer students (-29%)
      • the Independent ELICOS sector, with 520 fewer students (-47%)
         
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      1. Includes short-term (less than 1 year) and long-term (1 year or more) visitor arrivals.
      2. English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students.

      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

      Visitors arriving in Queensland for a short-term trip (less than 1 year) in March 2020:

      • Decreased 62.7% since the same month previous year
      • Largest source countries were New Zealand, Japan and UK
      • China had the largest decrease (-82.1%).
         

      Of all arrivals to Queensland travelling on an international student visa in March 2020, there was a:

      • Decrease of 530 students (-6%) compared to the same month in the previous year.
         
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      Source countries

      The three leading source countries for visitor arrivals to Queensland in March 2020 were:

      • New Zealand (15,100 trips)
      • Japan (5,900)
      • UK (5,800).
         
      Download
      1. Includes the United Kingdom, Channel Islands and Isle of Man.
      2. Excludes SARs & Taiwan.

      Among the top ten source countries, no annual increases were recorded.

      The largest annual decreases were recorded for:

      • China (-82.1%)
      • Japan (-76%)
      • Singapore (-66.8%).
         
      Download
       Mar '20Mar '19 to Mar '20
      Country of Residence'000% change
      New Zealand15.1-53.5
      Japan5.9-76.0
      UK(b)5.8-54.2
      USA5.3-61.1
      China(c)3.7-82.1
      Canada2.3-55.5
      India2.1-50.6
      Germany1.7-42.7
      Singapore1.6-66.8
      PNG1.4-48.1

      a. Top 10 source countries based on original estimates.
      b. Includes the United Kingdom, Channel Islands and Isle of Man.
      c. Excludes SARs & Taiwan.
       

      6.3 Visitor arrivals, Qld - top 10 source countries(a) - annual change - original estimates

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

      International students

      The outbreak of COVID-19 which started in China in December 2019, has continued to disrupt the movement of international students this month, due to the introduction of travel restrictions from February 2020. In 2019, China was the largest source country nationally. Educational exports are an important contributor to the Australian economy.

      Of all arrivals to Queensland travelling on an international student visa in March 2020, there was a decrease of 530 students (-6%) compared to the same month in the previous year.

      The highest numeric increases were for:

      • the Higher Education sector, with 1,050 more students (23%)
      • the Schools sector, with 30 more students (48%)
         

      The highest numeric decreases were for:

      • the Independent ELICOS sector, with 780 fewer students (-54%)
      • the Vocational Education and Training sector, with 590 fewer students (-36%)
      • the Postgraduate Research sector, with 160 fewer students (-36%)
         
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      1. Includes short-term (less than 1 year) and long-term (1 year or more) visitor arrivals.
      2. English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students.

      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

      Visitors arriving in South Australia for a short-term trip (less than 1 year) in March 2020:

      • Decreased 53.8% since the same month previous year
      • Largest source countries were China, UK and New Zealand
      • New Zealand had the largest decrease (-65.1%).
         

      Of all arrivals to South Australia travelling on an international student visa in March 2020, there was a:

      • Decrease of 800 students (-18%) compared to the same month in the previous year.
         
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      Source countries

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

      • China (1,700 trips)
      • UK (1,600)
      • New Zealand (1,100).
         
      Download
      1. Excludes SARs & Taiwan.
      2. Includes the United Kingdom, Channel Islands and Isle of Man.

      Among the top ten source countries, no annual increases were recorded.

      The largest annual decreases were recorded for:

      • New Zealand (-65.1%)
      • Hong Kong (-63.7%)
      • Germany (-59.7%)
         
      Download
       Mar '20Mar '19 to Mar '20
      Country of Residence'000% change
      China(b)1.7-58.4
      UK(c)1.6-47.6
      New Zealand1.1-65.1
      USA0.9-50.9
      India0.8-40.5
      Canada0.4-40.5
      Germany0.4-59.7
      Hong Kong0.3-63.7
      France0.3-25.3
      Malaysia0.3-56.4

      a. Top 10 source countries based on original estimates.
      b. Excludes SARs & Taiwan.
      c. Includes the United Kingdom, Channel Islands and Isle of Man.
       

      7.3 Visitor arrivals, SA - top 10 source countries(a) - annual change - original estimates

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

      International students

      The outbreak of COVID-19 which started in China in December 2019, has continued to disrupt the movement of international students this month, due to the introduction of travel restrictions in February 2020. In 2019, China was the largest source country nationally. Educational exports are an important contributor to the Australian economy.

      Of all arrivals to South Australia travelling on an international student visa in March 2020, there was a decrease of 800 students (-18%) compared to the same month in the previous year.

      The highest numeric increases were for:

      • the Schools sector, with 40 more students (45%)
         

      The highest numeric decreases were for:

      • the Higher Education sector, with 590 fewer students (-16%)
      • the Vocational Education and Training sector, with 110 fewer students (-44%)
      • the Independent ELICOS sector, with 110 fewer students (-75%).
         
      Download
      1. Includes short-term (less than 1 year) and long-term (1 year or more) visitor arrivals.
      2. English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students.

      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

      Visitors arriving in Western Australia for a short-term trip (less than 1 year) in March 2020:

      • Decreased 52.6% since the same month previous year
      • Largest source countries were UK, Singapore and New Zealand
      • Malaysia had the largest decrease (-71.6%).
         

      Of all arrivals to Western Australia travelling on an international student visa in March 2020, there was a:

      • Decrease of 220 students (-8%) compared to the same month in the previous year.
         
      Download

      Source countries

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

      • UK (6,900 trips)
      • Singapore (3,300)
      • New Zealand (2,800).
         
      Download
      1. Includes the United Kingdom, Channel Islands and Isle of Man.
      2. Excludes SARs & Taiwan.

      Among the top ten source countries, no annual increases were recorded.

      The largest annual decreases were recorded for:

      • Malaysia (-71.6%)
      • China (-70.7%)
      • Singapore (-68.9%)
         
      Download
       Mar '20Mar '19 to Mar '20
      Country of Residence'000% change
      UK(b)6.9-44.4
      Singapore3.3-68.9
      New Zealand2.8-46.7
      Malaysia2.7-71.6
      USA2.3-25.7
      India1.6-31.4
      Indonesia1.5-55.3
      Germany1.4-38.5
      China(c)1.2-70.7
      France0.9-24.6

      a. Top 10 source countries based on original estimates.
      b. Includes the United Kingdom, Channel Islands and Isle of Man.
      c. Excludes SARs & Taiwan.
       

      8.3 Visitor arrivals, WA - top 10 source countries(a) - annual change - original estimates

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

      International students

      The outbreak of COVID-19 which started in China in December 2019, has continued to disrupt the movement of international students this month, due to the introduction of travel restrictions from February 2020. In 2019, China was the largest source country nationally. Educational exports are an important contributor to the Australian economy.

      Of all arrivals to Western Australia travelling on an international student visa in March 2020, there was a decrease of 220 students (-8%) compared to the same month in the previous year.

      The highest numeric increases were for:

      • the Higher Education sector, with 290 more students (17%)
      • the Schools sector, with 10 more students (88%)
         

      The highest numeric decreases were for:

      • the Vocational Education and Training sector, with 300 fewer students (-50%)
      • the Independent ELICOS sector, with 160 fewer students (-55%)
      • the Student Other sector, with 40 fewer students (-59%)
         
      Download
      1. Includes short-term (less than 1 year) and long-term (1 year or more) visitor arrivals.
      2. English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students.

      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

      Visitors arriving in Tasmania for a short-term trip (less than 1 year) in March 2020:

      • Decreased 50.7% since the same month previous year
      • Largest source countries were New Zealand, USA and UK
      • Japan had the largest decrease (-80.6%).
         

      Of all arrivals to Tasmania travelling on an international student visa in March 2020, there was an:

      • Increase of 20 students (3%) compared to the same month in the previous year.
         
      Download

      Source countries

      The three leading source countries for visitor arrivals to Tasmania in March 2020 were:

      • New Zealand (900 trips)
      • USA (500)
      • UK (400).
         
      Download
      1. Includes the United Kingdom, Channel Islands and Isle of Man.
      2. Excludes SARs & Taiwan.

      Among the top ten source countries, no annual increases were recorded.

      The largest annual decreases were recorded for:

      • Japan (-80.6%)
      • Hong Kong (-69.4%)
      • Singapore (-68.5%)
         
      Download
       Mar '20Mar '19 to Mar '20
      Country of Residence'000% change
      New Zealand0.9-14.9
      USA0.5-63.6
      UK(b)0.4-47.2
      China(c)0.4-54.0
      Hong Kong0.3-69.4
      Germany0.2-1.3
      Singapore0.2-68.5
      India0.1-39.8
      Japan0.1-80.6
      France0.1-18.5

      a. Top 10 source countries based on original estimates.
      b. Includes the United Kingdom, Channel Islands and Isle of Man.
      c. Excludes SARs & Taiwan.
       

      9.3 Visitor arrivals, Tas. - top 10 source countries(a) - annual change - original estimates

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

      International students

      The outbreak of COVID-19 which started in China in December 2019, has continued to disrupt the movement of international students this month, due to the introduction of travel restrictions from February 2020. In 2019, China was the largest source country nationally. Educational exports are an important contributor to the Australian economy.

      Of all arrivals to Tasmania travelling on an international student visa in March 2020, there was an increase of 20 students (3%) compared to the same month in the previous year.

      The highest numeric increases were for:

      • the Higher Education sector, with 70 more students (17%)
         

      The highest numeric decreases were for:

      • the Schools sector, with 20 fewer students (-100%)
      • the Independent ELICOS sector, with 20 fewer students (-100%)
      • the Vocational Education and Training sector, with 10 fewer students (-20%)
         
      Download
      1. Includes short-term (less than 1 year) and long-term (1 year or more) visitor arrivals.
      2. English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students.

      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

      Visitors arriving in the Northern Territory for a short-term trip (less than 1 year) in March 2020:

      • Decreased 66% since the same month previous year
      • Largest source countries were USA, UK and New Zealand
      • Japan had the largest decrease (-85.8%).
         

      Of all arrivals to the Northern Territory travelling on an international student visa in March 2020, there was a:

      • Decrease of 30 students (-14%) compared to the same month in the previous year.
         
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      Source countries

      The three leading source countries for visitor arrivals to the Northern Territory in March 2020 were:

      • USA (300 trips)
      • UK (200)
      • New Zealand (200).
         
      Download
      1. Includes the United Kingdom, Channel Islands and Isle of Man.

      Among the top ten source countries, no annual increases were recorded.

      The largest annual decreases were recorded for:

      • Japan (-85.8%)
      • India (-76.1%)
      • USA (-72.9%)
         
      Download
       Mar '20Mar '19 to Mar '20
      Country of Residence'000% change
      USA0.3-72.9
      UK(b)0.2-3.8
      New Zealand0.2-41.2
      Germany0.1-47.0
      India0.1-76.1
      Japan0.1-85.8
      Indonesia0.1-66.3
      Philippines0.1-68.3
      France0.1-61.5
      Timor-Leste0.1-50.5

      a. Top 10 source countries based on original estimates.
      b. Includes the United Kingdom, Channel Islands and Isle of Man.
       

      10.3 Visitor arrivals, NT - top 10 source countries(a) - annual change - original estimates

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

      International students

      The outbreak of COVID-19 which started in China in December 2019, has continued to disrupt the movement of international students this month, due to the introduction of travel restrictions from February 2020. In 2019, China was the largest source country nationally. Educational exports are an important contributor to the Australian economy.

      Of all arrivals to the Northern Territory travelling on an international student visa in March 2020, there was a decrease of 30 students (-14%) compared to the same month in the previous year.

      The highest numeric increases were for:

      • the Higher Education sector, with 10 more students (9%)
      • the Vocational Education and Training sector, with 10 more students (29%)
         

      The highest numeric decreases were for:

      • the Student Other sector, with 30 fewer students (-100%)
      • the Postgraduate Research sector, with 10 fewer students (-47%)
      • the Schools sector, with 10 fewer students (-100%)
         
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      1. Includes short-term (less than 1 year) and long-term (1 year or more) visitor arrivals.
      2. English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students.

      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

      Visitors arriving in the Australian Capital Territory for a short-term trip (less than 1 year) in March 2020:

      • Decreased 43.3% since the same month previous year
      • Largest source countries were China, USA and New Zealand
      • China increased 46% since the same month previous year
      • Japan had the largest decrease (-73.3%).
         

      Of all arrivals to the Australian Capital Territory travelling on an international student visa in March 2020, there was an:

      • Increase of 1,030 students (124%) compared to the same month in the previous year.
         
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      Source countries

      The three leading source countries for visitor arrivals to the Australian Capital Territory in March 2020 were:

      • China (1,500 trips)
      • USA (500)
      • New Zealand (400).
         
      Download
      1. Excludes SARs & Taiwan.
      2. Includes the United Kingdom, Channel Islands and Isle of Man.

      Among the top ten source countries, the only annual increase was recorded for:

      • China (46%)
         

      The largest annual decreases were recorded for:

      • Japan (-73.3%)
      • New Zealand (-63.1%)
      • Singapore (-61%)
         
      Download
       Mar '20Mar '19 to Mar '20
      Country of Residence'000% change
      China(b)1.546.0
      USA0.5-58.7
      New Zealand0.4-63.1
      UK(c)0.3-44.0
      India0.3-47.3
      Singapore0.1-61.0
      Indonesia0.1-24.7
      Japan0.1-73.3
      Philippines0.1-56.6
      Vietnam0.1-31.4

      a. Top 10 source countries based on original estimates.
      b. Excludes SARs & Taiwan.
      c. Includes the United Kingdom, Channel Islands and Isle of Man.
       

      11.3 Visitor arrivals, ACT - top 10 source countries(a) - annual change - original estimates

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

      International students

      The outbreak of COVID-19 which started in China in December 2019, has continued to disrupt the movement of international students this month, due to the introduction of travel restrictions from February 2020. In 2019, China was the largest source country nationally. Educational exports are an important contributor to the Australian economy.

      Of all arrivals to Australian Capital Territory travelling on an international student visa in March 2020, there was an increase of 1,030 students (124%) compared to the same month in the previous year.

      The highest numeric increases were for:

      • the Higher Education sector, with 1,010 more students (171%)
      • the Vocational Education and Training sector, with 40 more students (54%)
      • the Independent ELICOS sector, with 10 more students (191%)
         

      The only numeric decrease was for:

      • the Postgraduate Research sector, with 40 fewer students (-35%)
         
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      1. Includes short-term (less than 1 year) and long-term (1 year or more) visitor arrivals.
      2. English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students.

      International student arrivals - Aust. - Mar 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 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

      Of all arrivals to Australia travelling on an international student visa in March 2020, there was a:

      • Decrease of 11,790 students (-16%) compared to the same month in the previous year.
         

      International students

      The outbreak of COVID-19 which started in China in December 2019, has continued to disrupt the movement of international students this month, due to the introduction of travel restrictions from February 2020. In 2019, China was the largest source country nationally. Educational exports are an important contributor to the Australian economy.

      Of all arrivals to Australia travelling on an international student visa in March 2020, there was a decrease of 11,790 students (-16%) compared to the same month in the previous year.

      The only numeric increase was for:

      • the Schools sector, with 170 more students (25%)
         

      The highest numeric decreases were for:

      • the Higher Education sector, with 5,230 fewer students (-10%)
      • the Vocational Education and Training sector, with 3,170 fewer students (-35%)
      • the Independent ELICOS sector, with 2,300 fewer students (-49%)
         
      Download
      1. Includes short-term (less than 1 year) and long-term (1 year or more) visitor arrivals.
      2. English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students.

      Visitor arrivals annually - 2019

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

      Key statistics

      Visitors arriving in Australia in 2019 (original estimates).

      • There were 9.5 million visitor arrivals, the highest year on record
      • China was the largest source country with over 1.4 million visitors nationally, largest source for NSW, Vic, SA, Tas. and the ACT
      • There were more visits by women than men. The opposite was true in 2009
      • The main reason for travel was holiday (47%)
      • Nationally, the median duration of stay in Australia was 10 days.
         

      Short-term visitor arrivals

      The record annual 9.5 million visitors in 2019 was 3.9 million more than 10 years earlier and 220,300 more than 1 year ago. There has generally been an ongoing increase of visitor arrivals to Australia over recent decades.

      • Peaks were seen during Brisbane Expo in 1988 and the Sydney Olympics in 2000
      • Decreases were experienced during the Asian financial crisis from 1998, the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2003 and the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) in 2008.
      • Australia experienced strong increases during 2015 and 2016.
         
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      Source countries

      Residents from nearly every country around the world visited Australia in 2019. China (1.44 million) remained the largest source country for visitor arrivals with New Zealand (1.43 million) in second place. This reflects strong growth in the number of Chinese visitors over the decade, with a 297% increase since 2009. However, this growth has slowed more recently (0.46% from 2018 to 2019) and is likely to decrease in early 2020 due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

      Download
      1. Top 5 source countries based on year ending December 2019.
      2. 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.

      Download
       '0002018 to 20192009 to 2019
      Country of Residence % change% change
      China14390.5296.7
      New Zealand14343.530.4
      USA8183.768.9
      UK(b)716-2.44.6
      Japan4996.240.9
      Singapore4796.894.1
      India39911.6234.4
      Malaysia385-4.088.5
      Hong Kong3152.1118.6
      Korea, South280-2.651.0

      a. Top 10 source countries based on year ending December 2019.
      b. Includes United Kingdom, Channel Islands and Isle of Man.
       

      13.3 Short-term visitor arrivals, Australia - top 10 source countries(a) - 2019 - year ending

      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, were as follows:

      • NSW (37% of all short-term visitors)
      • Vic. (27%)
      • Qld (21%)
      • SA (3%)
      • WA (9%)
      • Tas. (1.0%)
      • NT (0.8%)
      • ACT (1.2%).
         

      In 2009 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.

      Download

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

      During 2019:

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

      Ten years earlier in 2009, 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 (4.9 million women compared with 4.5 million men). The opposite was true in 2009 (2.9 million men and 2.7 million women).

      In 2019, men and women visiting Australia had the same median age (40 years). The largest group of visitor arrivals were aged between 25 and 29 years. There were also large numbers of women arriving aged 56 with the largest source country being from China at this age.

      Download

      Main reason for journey

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

      • holiday (47%)
      • visiting friends and relatives (30%)
      • business (7.1%)
      • education (6.6%).
         

      Female visitors were more likely than males to record their main reason for journey as holiday (50% of all females compared with 44% of all males), visiting friends and relatives (33% compared with 27%), and education (6.6% compared with 6.5%). Male visitors, on the other hand were more likely to travel to Australia for business (11% of all males compared with 3% of all females), to attend a convention/conference (4% compared with 3%), and for employment (3% compared with 2%).

      Duration of stay

      Visitors are asked their intended duration in Australia upon arrival.

      During 2019, the median duration of stay in Australia was 10 days. However, this varies between the states and territories and between the numerous source countries. It also varies depending on a traveller's main reason for journey.

      In 2019, the median duration of days for those visiting SA and ACT was 16 days, whereas for NSW and Qld it was 10 days. Those from India (with a median duration of stay of 40 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.

      Download
       NSWVic.QldSAWATas.NTACTAust.(b)
       daysdaysdaysdaysdaysdaysdaysdaysdays
      India304930706156616140
      UK(c)162020212120191719
      China121410301530129012
      USA101111131314161010
      Hong Kong910101199101210
      Malaysia898107108118
      Singapore7889710798
      Korea (South)61091310108117
      New Zealand55771081167
      Japan6761067676
      All countries101210161212151610

      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.
       

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

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

      • Those travelling for employment and education stayed the longest (122 days)
      • visiting friends and relatives (16 days)
      • holiday (9 days)
      • business travellers and those travelling for conventions/conferences stayed the shortest (6 days).

      Resident returns annually - 2019

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

      Key statistics

      Australian residents returning to Australia in 2019 (original estimates).

      • There were 11.3 million resident returns to Australia from overseas, the highest year on record.
      • New Zealand continued to be the leading destination country for Australians travelling overseas, with nearly 1.5 million trips
      • Indonesia was the leading destination for those living in SA, WA and the NT
      • The main reason for travel was holiday (57%)
      • Nationally, the median duration away was 14 days.
         

      Short-term resident returns

      The record annual 11.3 million resident trips in 2019 was 5.1 million more than 10 years earlier and 247,500 more than 1 year ago. There has generally been an ongoing increase of Australian residents travelling overseas over recent decades. However, decreases were experienced 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.
         
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      Destination countries

      Australians travelled across the globe during 2019:

      • New Zealand (1.46 million trips) remained the leading destination country
      • Indonesia moved from fourth to second over the last decade (1.40 million - an increase of 156%)
      • The USA (1.06 million) was the third leading destination but had a lower level than its peak in 2018.
         
      Download
      1. Top 5 destination countries based on year ending December 2019.
      2. Includes United Kingdom, Channel Islands and Isle of Man.

      Among the top 10 destination countries, the strongest growth over the last decade was for Australians visiting Asian countries.

      Download
       '0002018 to 20192009 to 2019
      Destination Country % change% change
      New Zealand1 4631.943.8
      Indonesia1 4019.4156.4
      USA1 056-3.683.2
      UK(b)6630.041.3
      China6082.4134.9
      Thailand543-5.240.2
      Japan52213.3230.4
      India4268.6200.2
      Singapore4170.483.3
      Fiji3450.935.8

      a. Top 10 destination countries based on year ending December 2019.
      b. Includes United Kingdom, Channel Islands and Isle of Man.
       

      14.3 Short-term resident returns, Australia - top 10 destination countries(a) - 2019 - year ending

      ​​​​​​​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, were as follows:

      • NSW (34% of all short-term resident returns)
      • Vic. (28%)
      • Qld (18%)
      • SA (5%)
      • WA (12%)
      • Tas. (1.0%)
      • NT (0.9%)
      • ACT (2%).
         

      In 2009 this pattern was very similar with a slightly higher proportion of those travelling overseas from NSW (36%), WA (14%), Tas. (1.1%) and NT (1.0%).

      Download

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

      During 2019:

      • 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, 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 (5.9 million men compared with 5.4 million women), similar to 2009 (3.3 million men and 2.9 million women).

      In 2019, Australian men and women travelling overseas had a similar median age (42 years and 41 years respectively). Among those aged 18 to 30, there were more trips undertaken by women than men.

      Download

      Main reason for journey

      In 2019, 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 (26%)
      • business (8%).
         

      Female residents were more likely than males to record their main reason as a holiday (61% of all females compared with 54% of all males), visiting friends and relatives (28% compared with 24%), and education (1.3% compared with 1.1%). Male residents were more likely to travel overseas for business (12% 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, the median duration away for Australians on a short-term trip was 14 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, the median duration away overseas for Victorians, South Australians, Tasmanians and those from the ACT was 15 days, whereas for those from WA and the NT it was 12 days. Those travelling to the UK were usually away for an average of 24 days which was longer than all the other top 10 destinations. Those travelling to Fiji were away for 7 days on average.

      Download
       NSWVic.QldSAWATas.NTACTAust.(b)
       daysdaysdaysdaysdaysdaysdaysdaysdays
      UK(c)242426262331252624
      India222523272219252323
      China171815171516151717
      USA151616171919171616
      Japan141514151515151514
      Thailand111212121113121212
      Indonesia101099711899
      Singapore8889711688
      New Zealand7781012101188
      Fiji787788877
      All countries141514151215121514

      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.
       

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

      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 (24 days)
      • visiting friends and relatives (20 days)
      • education (19 days)
      • holiday (13 days)
      • business travellers stayed the shortest (7 days).

      Notes

      Suspension of trend estimates

      The trend estimates have been suspended from February 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. For more details on trend estimates, please see paragraphs 19-34 of the Explanatory Notes on the Methodology page and the ABS Feature Article: When It's not "Business-as-usual": Implications for ABS Time Series (cat. no. 1350.0 for Aug 2009).

      From March 2020, seasonal factors for both the short-term visitor arrival and short-term resident return series have been calculated using data up to and including February 2020, then forecast from March 2020 onwards. This approach, known as the forward factor method, ensures that the seasonal factors are not distorted by COVID-19 impacts - see Explanatory Note 21 in the Methodology.

      COVID-19 from February 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. Currently, all overseas travel is banned, with few exceptions. For more information, see the Smartraveller page from the Australian government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website or the News and Media page at the Australian government Department of Home Affairs website.

      In March 2020, visitors arriving in Australia for a short-term trip decreased 60.3% since the same month of the previous year (original estimates), the largest decrease on record. New Zealand was the largest source country for visitors to Australia although it had decreased 56.2% since the previous year.

      For Australian residents returning from a short-term trip, there was a decrease of 28.6% since the same month of the previous year (original estimates), also the largest decrease on record. New Zealand was also the most popular destination country however this had decreased 26.3% since the previous year.

      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 Note 36 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.

      Data downloads

      I-note

      1. The trend estimates have been suspended from February 2020 for all Short-term Visitor Arrivals (STVA) and Short-term Resident Returns (STRR) series due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on international travel. For more information, see the end of the Data Quality Issues Appendix.
      2. For further information about the data, including updates or changes, see methodology of this issue and the related Appendices such as Data Quality Issues.
      3. Short-term arrival movements are based on a sample and are subject to sampling error. See paragraphs 10 and 11 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 31-32 of the Explanatory Notes section in the methodology.
         

      Table 1: total movement, arrivals - category of movement

      Errors were found in two columns in Table 1 of the Time Series Spreadsheets (columns H & K containing Trend data). The errors occurred only for the historical trend series. The data has now been removed with the following note provided within the table:

      Trend has been suspended from February 2020 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on international travel. For the previous trend for short-term resident returns please refer to column BR in Table 7, for short-term visitor arrivals please refer to column BR in Table 3 - see the Data Quality Issues Appendix in the methodology.

      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

      History of changes

      Show all

      15/05/2020 - Errors were found in two columns in Table 1 of the Time Series Spreadsheets (columns H & K containing Trend data). The errors occurred only for the historical trend series. The data has now been removed with a note provided within the table.