Australian Tourism Statistics

Page last updated: 30 March 2021

9.3 million tourists visited Australia in 2019 (year ending June 2019). In 2020  the number of international visitors to Australia dropped to 6.7 million due to COVID-19 travel restrictions (year ending June 2020).1 A further decrease in annual tourism visits is expected in 2021.

  • In 2020 the number of international visitors to Australia went down by 27% compared to the previous year. This marked a year-on-year decrease of over 2.6 million visits.
  • 2019 holds the record for the highest number of travellers visiting  Australia in any year up to date.
  • The dramatic drop in annual visits in 2020 was caused primarily by the coronavirus pandemic and related travel restrictions introduced in March 2020. 
  • Australian international tourism spend amounted to $44.6 billion in 2019, and is expected to go down by about 30% in 2020, significantly impacting the Australian tourism industry.

Impact of coronavirus on international visitors to Australia in the second half of 2020

For the 2nd half of the year (July – December) Australia received a total of 32,740 international visitors.
  • During that same period the previous year (July – December, 2019) Australia received over 4.9 million international visitors
  • For the second half of 2020, international visitors were down 99.3% when compared with 2019

How many tourists visited Australia in 2019?

9.3 million tourists visited Australia between July 2018 and June 2019, the highest number ever recorded.1

Data source: ABS. Image credit: Camper Champ

Australian Tourism Statistics 2020

Who visited Australia in 2020?

  • The most visitors to Australia in 2019/2020 came from New Zealand, at just over 1 million.
    • For the previous two years, China had been the main source of visitors to Australia.
    • The travel ban placed on Chinese visitors in early 2020 as well as the following coronavirus restrictions resulted in a larger relative drop in Chinese visitors than New Zealand visitors in the 2019/2020 year.
  • The top 5 markets in 2020 were New Zealand, China, the USA, the UK and Japan
    • All five of the top markets saw a large decrease in visitors due to the coronavirus restrictions
Data source: ABS. Image credit: Camper Champ

Impact of the Coronavirus on International Tourism Expenditure

International visitors spent a total of $33.3 billion during trips to Australia for the year ending June 2020
  • Spending was down 25% when compared to the $44.6 billion of the previous year
Data source: TRA. Image credit: Camper Champ

January 2020 - Bushfire Impact

  • In January 2020 approximately 739,600 international visitors travelled to Australia.4
  • International visitor numbers were down 5.1% when compared with the 779,500 of January 2019.
  • The drop can be partly attributed to the Australia bushfires crisis of 2019/2020, impacting Australian tourism businesses and hospitality sector even before the COVID-19 crisis.

February 2020 and the Impact of Coronavirus

  • February saw a significant decrease in international tourism due to the effects of the coronavirus crisis.
  • In February 2020 approximately 647,000 international visitors travelled to Australia.
  • International visitors were down 18% when compared with the 796,100 visitors of February 2019.

March 2020 and the Impact of Travel Restrictions

International arrivals in March saw a dramatic decrease, significantly impacting Australia’s tourism industry:

  • In March 2020 approximately 307,900 international visitors travelled to Australia which was a 59.9% drop when compared with the 768,200 visitors of March 2019.
  • On March 20th, Australia restricted entry to only citizens, residents and their immediate family.
  • On March 25th Australian citizens and residents were also banned from travelling overseas.

Impact of the Travel Ban on Chinese Tourists

  • In February 2020 visitors arriving from China decreased by 83% compared to the previous year (19,500 arrivals in February 2020 vs 116,900 visitors in February 2019).
  • The significant drop was the result of the coronavirus-related travel ban implemented by the Australian government on 1 February for non-citizens travelling from or through China.
  • February in the past has historically been the peak period for Chinese visitors to Australia.
 

Read more: Chinese visitors to Australia statistics

How did the coronavirus affect domestic travel?

In the second half of 2020 (July to December) Australians made over 38 million domestic trips.
  • For the same period the previous year (July – December 2019) Australians made over 57 million domestic trips.
  • Domestic trips saw a decrease of 33.8% during this time period.
  • Despite lower travel volumes during the first part of 2020, domestic trips began to see an increase during the final quarter of the year.
Data source: TRA. Image credit: Camper Champ

Australia Inbound Travel Statistics for 2019 – International & Domestic Tourism

Who visited Australia in 2019?

  • The highest number of visitors came from China, at over 1.4 million.
Data source: ABS. Image credit: Camper Champ
  • Up until 2016, New Zealand was the top source of tourist arrivals for Australia, but that spot was then held by China for 2 years.
Data source: ABS. Image credit: Camper Champ

What were the most popular tourist destinations in Australia in 2019?

  • The most popular destination for both international tourism and domestic visitors was Sydney, with over 16 million visitors.2
Data source: TRA. Image credit: Camper Champ

How much did international tourists spend in Australia in 2019?

  • International tourists spent a total of $44.6 billion in Australia between July 2018 and June 2019.3
  • Chinese were the top spenders at $11.9 billion, nearly triple the amount of the next-highest spenders (Americans at $4 billion).
Data source: TRA. Image credit: Camper Champ
  • International visitors spent an average of $5,183 per trip, an average expenditure of $163 per night.
  • Holidaymakers contributed the most overall with $16.9 billion spent.

Which Australian destinations had the highest visitor spend?

  • Sydney had the highest visitor spend receiving a combined $19.5 billion from both international and domestic visitors between July 2018 and June 2019.
  • Melbourne also ranked high at a combined $17.0 billion.
Data source: TRA. Image credit: Camper Champ

How long do international tourists spend in Australia?

  • Tourists spent 273 million visitor nights in Australia between July 2018 and June 2019.
  • The overall average length of stay was 32 nights.

Australia camping & campervan statistics

  • The number of camping trips throughout Australia has grown by 27.5% over the 10-year period from 2008 to 2018.5
  • In 2018 over 6.9 million overnight camping trips were made in Australia.
  • Camping trips – including caravan, campervan, commercial and non-commercial camping – made up 13.7% of visitor nights for domestic travellers in Australia in 2019 (year ending September)

Other Resources

Australian Outbound Tourism Statistics for 2019

Where did Australian tourists visit in 2019?

  • Australian tourists and travellers made over 9.5 million overseas trips in the year ending in June 2019.4
  • The most popular destination was New Zealand, with over 1.2 million trips alone.
  • Indonesia (Bali), the US (Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Francisco) and the UK (London, Scotland), were also popular destinations.
Data source: TRA. Image credit: Camper Champ

References

  1. ABS: Overseas Arrivals and Departures, Australia, June 2020 
  2. TRA: International Visitor Survey, National Visitor Survey, 2020 
  3. TRA: International Visitor Survey, Trends 2019, National Visitor Survey, Trends 2020 
  4. ABS: Arrivals and departures: Visitor arrivals, short term trips (seasonally adjusted) March 2020
  5. TTF: Estimated impact of Coronavirus on the Australia visitor economy