Australian Tourism Statistics

Page last updated: 08 October 2020

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.

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

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