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Overseas Travel Statistics, Provisional

Provisional statistics on international travel based on initial border crossings, arriving in and departing from Australia, including tourism trips

Reference period
December 2020
Released
18/01/2021

Key statistics

  • Of the 35,100 estimated arrival trips, 17,800 were by Australian citizens
  • Arrival trips show a 17.9% increase compared to the previous month
  • Of the 49,900 estimated departure trips, 12,100 were by Australian citizens
  • Departure trips shows a 9.8% increase compared to the previous month.

Migration Statistics

This release is not an appropriate source of migration statistics. For further information refer to:

All arrivals - provisional estimates monthly

Provisional statistics on international travel movements of persons arriving in Australia. It is the number of international border crossings rather than the number of people.

Key findings

All overseas arrivals to Australia in December 2020 (provisional estimates):

  • 35,100 estimated trips, 17,800 of these are Australian citizens
  • 17.9% increase compared to the previous month and a 98.1% decrease compared to the corresponding month of the previous year
  • 14.1% of all arrivals were New Zealand citizens, the largest group apart from Australian citizens returning home
  • 7.8% of all arrivals were those arriving on permanent skilled visas.

All arrivals - by citizenship

The five largest countries of citizenship (excluding Australian) for all arrivals to Australia in December 2020 were:

  • New Zealand (4,900), increasing 33.2% compared to the previous month
  • India (1,700), increasing 50.3%
  • China (1,300), increasing 11.2%
  • UK (1,100), decreasing 10.7%
  • USA (780), decreasing 0.1%.
     
1.3 All arrivals - Top 10 Countries of citizenship - provisional estimates(a)
Country of citizenshipDec-19Nov-20Dec-20Nov-20 to Dec-20
% change
Dec-19 to Dec-20
% change
New Zealand176,6003,7104,95033.2%-97.2%
India66,2501,1401,72050.3%-97.4%
China(b)133,0301,1901,33011.2%-99.0%
UK(c)127,6101,2701,130-10.7%-99.1%
USA96,020780780-0.1%-99.2%
South Africa13,26038046020.7%-96.5%
Philippines18,780490430-13.8%-97.7%
Pakistan4,830180380111.0%-92.1%
Indonesia27,70027034026.4%-98.8%
Malaysia45,85021033060.0%-99.3%

(a) To confidentialise, estimates have been rounded to the nearest 10.
(b) Excludes SARs & Taiwan.
(c) Includes the United Kingdom, Channel Islands and Isle of Man.
Note: Large percentage changes can be observed due to monthly fluctuations of small numbers.
 

All arrivals - by visa group

The three largest visa groups arriving in Australia in December 2020 were:

  • Permanent skilled visas (2,700), increasing 50.8% compared to the previous month
  • Permanent family visas (2,200), increasing 30.9% 
  • Temporary other visas (2,000), decreasing 6.1%.
     
1.4 All arrivals - Visa groups - provisional estimates(a)
Visa GroupDec-19Nov-20Dec-20Nov-20 to Dec-20
% change
Dec-19 to Dec-20
% change
Permanent Family Visas20,2701,6502,16030.9%-89.4%
Permanent Other Visas46,0301,4901,86024.6%-96.0%
Permanent Skilled Visas34,7701,8102,72050.8%-92.2%
Temporary Other Visas28,5702,1802,050-6.1%-92.8%
Temporary Skilled Visas15,9901,2201,3107.7%-91.8%
Temporary Student Visas40,79020023013.9%-99.4%
Temporary Visitor Visas803,1701,9701,9800.8%-99.8%
Temporary Work Visas19,330120100-18.5%-99.5%

(a) To confidentialise, estimates have been rounded to the nearest 10.
 

All arrivals - by state or territory of clearance

All international travellers must be processed and cleared by Australia's Border Force via specific seaports or airports around the country. This information provides the state or territory of clearance for each traveller.

For December 2020 when comparing to the previous month, increases were recorded for:

  • Vic. (866.6%)
  • Tas. (300.0%)
  • SA (30.2%)
  • Qld (7.1%)
  • WA (2.2%)

Decreases were recorded for:

  • ACT (97.4%)
  • NT (16.9%)
  • NSW (0.2%)

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

1.5 All arrivals - State or Territory of clearance - provisional estimates(a)
State of clearanceDec-19Nov-20Dec-20Nov-20 to Dec-20
% change
Dec-19 to Dec-20
% change
NSW735,88016,44016,410-0.2%-97.8%
Vic.521,0005505,330866.6%-99.0%
Qld357,5005,7806,2007.1%-98.3%
SA49,9001,0901,41030.2%-97.2%
WA201,9304,4904,5802.2%-97.7%
Tas.7,36040140300.0%-98.0%
NT16,1501,2401,030-16.9%-93.6%
ACT2,5601500-97.4%-99.8%

(a) To confidentialise, estimates have been rounded to the nearest 10.
Note: Large percentage changes can be observed due to monthly fluctuations of small numbers

All departures - provisional estimates monthly

Provisional statistics on international travel movements of persons departing Australia. It is the number of international border crossings rather than the number of people.

Key findings

All overseas departures from Australia in December 2020 (provisional estimates):

  • 49,900 estimated trips, 12,100 of these are Australian citizens
  • 9.8% increase compared to the previous month and a 97.8% decrease compared to the corresponding month of the previous year
  • 18.7% of all departures were Chinese citizens
  • 24.1% of all departures were those leaving on temporary student visas.
     

All departures - by citizenship

The five largest countries of citizenship (excluding Australian) for all departures from Australia in December 2020 were:

  • China (9,300), increasing 2.1% compared to the previous month
  • India (5,400), decreasing 10.3%
  • New Zealand (4,000), increasing 17.3%
  • UK (1,300), increasing 17.8%
  • USA (1,100), increasing 24.3%.
2.3 All departures - Top 10 Countries of citizenship - provisional estimates(a)
Country of citizenshipDec-19Nov-20Dec-20Nov-20 to Dec-20
% change
Dec-19 to Dec-20
% change
China(b)202,9709,1309,3202.1%-95.4%
India68,4505,9705,350-10.3%-92.2%
New Zealand193,3403,4003,99017.3%-97.9%
UK(c)91,8701,1201,32017.8%-98.6%
USA82,3908901,11024.3%-98.7%
Malaysia64,3808901,00012.5%-98.4%
Indonesia26,64056091063.8%-96.6%
South Korea36,58068090031.8%-97.6%
Singapore50,10051088074.0%-98.2%
Philippines22,46076087014.0%-96.1%

(a) To confidentialise, estimates have been rounded to the nearest 10.
(b) Excludes SARs & Taiwan.
(c) Includes the United Kingdom, Channel Islands and Isle of Man.
 

All departures - by visa group

The three largest visa groups departing from Australia in December 2020 were:

  • Temporary student visas (12,000), increasing 32.1% compared to the previous month
  • Temporary other visas (8,500), increasing 13.4% 
  • Temporary visitor visas (5,700), decreasing 26.2%.
2.4 All departures - Visa groups - provisional estimates(a)
Visa GroupDec-19Nov-20Dec-20Nov-20 to Dec-20
% change
Dec-19 to Dec-20
% change
Permanent Family Visas33,460910840-7.8%-97.5%
Permanent Other Visas85,7501,8801,9705.2%-97.7%
Permanent Skilled Visas81,9901,7001,93013.2%-97.7%
Temporary Other Visas64,3907,4908,49013.4%-86.8%
Temporary Skilled Visas33,8101,1101,68051.0%-95.0%
Temporary Student Visas142,9309,10012,02032.1%-91.6%
Temporary Visitor Visas539,3307,7305,710-26.2%-98.9%
Temporary Work Visas21,8401,4101,4805.3%-93.2%

(a) To confidentialise, estimates have been rounded to the nearest 10.
 

All departures - by state and territory of clearance

All international travellers must be processed and cleared by Australia's Border Force via specific seaports or airports around the country. This information provides the state or territory of clearance for each traveller.

For December 2020 when comparing to the previous month, increases were recorded for:

  • NT (173.5%)
  • SA (43.5%)
  • WA (28.8%)
  • Vic. (13.0%)
  • NSW (6.2%)
  • Qld (3.4%)

Decreases were recorded for:

  • ACT (100.0%)
  • Tas. (96.5%)

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

2.5 All departures - State or Territory of clearance - provisional estimates(a)
State of clearanceDec-19Nov-20Dec-20Nov-20 to Dec-20
% change
Dec-19 to Dec-20
% change
NSW893,02025,11026,6706.2%-97.0%
Vic.611,69010,97012,40013.0%-98.0%
Qld411,8005,4805,6703.4%-98.6%
SA62,30052075043.5%-98.8%
WA244,8802,9903,85028.8%-98.4%
Tas.26017010-96.5%-97.7%
NT18,300220600173.5%-96.7%
ACT4,510100-100.0%-100.0%

(a) To confidentialise, estimates have been rounded to the nearest 10.
Note: Large percentage changes can be observed due to monthly fluctuations of small numbers

Notes

New publication in response to COVID-19

This is a temporary monthly publication in response to COVID-19 and the heightened interest in traveller data. It provides information 4 weeks earlier than the regular monthly Overseas Arrivals and Departures (OAD)(cat. no. 3401.0) publication.

This publication contains provisional arrivals and departures information for the reference month based on initial border crossings into and out of Australia using the Department of Home Affairs Travel and Immigration Processing System (TRIPS). It contains early information on arrivals and departures, country of citizenship, major visa groups, and state or territory of clearance. Like Overseas Arrivals and Departures, it is the number of international border crossings rather than the number of people. Individuals who travel multiple times in a year are counted each time they cross Australia's borders.

In response to the observed drop in the numbers of movements due to the ongoing travel restrictions, month on month (MOM) comparisons have been included in the publication, in addition to the year on year (YOY) comparisons. Please note that large changes may be observed due to monthly fluctuations of small numbers.

More detailed information including important variables such as state of residence, duration of stay, country of residence and main reason for journey (which can only be sourced later from the passenger card) will be available in the subsequent release of Overseas Arrivals and Departures scheduled for release 6 weeks after the reference month.

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.

Forthcoming Issues

This publication will be regularly reviewed in response to external data requirements, but it is anticipated this will be continued monthly while COVID-19 is still impacting on travel data.

The January 2021 issue will be released on 18 February 2021

The February 2021 issue will be released on 17 March 2021

Data downloads

1. Total movement, arrivals and departures - country of citizenship

2. Total movement, arrivals and departures - visa group

3. Total movement, arrivals and departures - state of clearance

All data cubes

Previous catalogue number

This release previously used catalogue number 3401.0.55.004.