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Huge gains and losses in visitation to Australia

January 17, 2020 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Latest data just released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics for international visits to Australia shows alarmingly wide variations among states and territories, ranging from catastrophic plunges of over 20% to strong double-digit-percentage increases.

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 November 2019, compared to the same month of the previous year, the big winner was Tasmania. Everyone wants to go there and Australia’s island state registered a visitation increase of +12.9%.

For the Northern Territory, however, the result is nothing short of disastrous, with a collapse in visitation. The figure fell by -21.4%.

Back in the 1990s, tourism commercials for the Northern Territory featuring TV personality Daryl Somers carried the catchline: “You’ll never never know if you never never go.”

A lot of international tourists are opting to “never never go” to the NT.

For other states and territories, in comparing annual change to November 2019 (original estimates):

  • New South Wales saw a decrease of -2.7%.
  • Queensland did well, with an increase of +8.1% (the best performance other than Tasmania).
  • Victoria saw an increase of +2.4%.
  • South Australia saw a decline of -4.7%.
  • Western Australia registered an increase of +6.4%.
  • The ACT saw growth of +4.4%.
  • Tasmania notched up +12.4%.

The diagram below (source: ABS) gives the picture.


In November 2019 trend estimates for short-term trips:

  • Overseas visitor arrivals to Australia increased +0.1% since the previous month to 797,300 trips
  • Australian resident returns from overseas increased +0.5% since the previous month to 966,000 trips.

In November 2019, Australian residents returning from a short-term trip overseas (trend estimates):

  • Increased +0.5% since the previous month to 966,000 trips
  • Increased +3.3% since the same month previous year
  • Reported New Zealand as the most popular destination country, accounting for 13% of all those returning.

The three leading destination countries for Australian residents in November 2019 were:

  • New Zealand (125,700 trips)
  • Indonesia (123,400)
  • USA (85,600).

Among the top ten destination countries, the highest annual increases were recorded for:

  • Japan (+24.8%)
  • Indonesia (+12.4%)
  • India (+7.3%).

The highest annual decreases were recorded for:

  • Thailand (-6.6%)
  • USA (-5.9%)

Edited by Peter Needham

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