34 Australia Tourism Statistics For Future Globetrotters

The smallest continent is one of the world’s largest and most desirable tourism destinations. With its vibrant culture, spectacular landscapes, and natural wonders, it’s no surprise Travel + Leisure magazine named Australia the destination of the year 2020.

But have you ever considered the magnitude of Australian tourism? How many people visit the country each year, and what are the most popular places to see?

We’ve assembled the most interesting Australia tourism statistics to help you find the answers you’re looking for. 

Are you ready? 

Let’s take a closer look!

Ten Fascinating Australia Tourism Statistics to Get To Know the Land Down Under 

  • Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane are the most visited cities in Australia.
  • A typical trip to Australia costs foreign visitors about $5,000. 
  • 666,000 people worked in the Australian tourism sector in 2019/2020.
  • The highest number of Australian outbound trips was recorded in 2019.
  • New Zealand is the most popular destination for Aussies travelling abroad. 
  • 118.5 million people entered New South Wales in 2019.
  • Domestic visitors in South Australia outnumbered international tourists for two years in a row.
  • International tourism suffered losses of $40.7 billion in the year ending in March 2021.
  • Domestic travellers have begun taking shorter vacations and investing less money in 2020.
  • The continent sees an average of 3,111 domestic flights per week.

Stats on Inbound Tourism in Australia

1. How many tourist visit are there in Australia each year?

(Australian Bureau of Statistics)

The highest number of overseas visitors ever registered in Australia was in 2019 when 9.5 million international tourists came to the country. Numbers, however, drastically dropped the following year. In 2020, only 1.8 million international visitors arrived in Australia, down by 80.7%. According to official stats, this was the lowest number of overseas tourists since 1987. 

2. Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane are the most visited cities in Australia.

(Budget Direct)

When it comes to the most popular tourist destinations in Australia, Sydney unsurprisingly takes the lead. It was the most popular city to visit by international tourists, including Chinese (57%), New Zealand (32%) and American travellers (67%). 

Melbourne is second—51% of Chinese and 32% of UK tourists visited this city in 2019. Finally, Brisbane was the third most popular, being visited by 21% of Chinese travellers, 19% of New Zealand tourists and 15% of US guests. 

3. A typical trip to Australia costs foreign visitors about $5,000. 

(Tourism Research Australia)

International tourists spent an average of $5,379 per trip in 2020, bringing the total to a little over $33 million. However, as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, international visitors to Australia have decreased their trips and, correspondingly, their annual travel expenses. 

In the year ending March 2021, international visitors spent $794 million in the country, down by a shocking 98.1% compared to the previous year. 

4. In 2019, the average length of stay in Australia was 32 nights. 

(Tourism Research Australia)

In the last ten years, the number of international tourist visitor nights in Australia has increased. According to 2019 Australian tourism data, the total number of visitor nights spent in Australia by international guests stood at 203 million, while the average stay was 32 nights. 

Like everything else, Covid-19 had its impact on the amount of time tourists spend in the country. As of March 2021, the number of visitor nights stood at 6.2 million, or a decrease of 97.6% from the year before.

5. December, January, and February attract the highest number of visitors to Australia.

(Budget Direct)

Summer is the most popular time for a trip to Australia. According to statistics from the Australian Tourist Commission, the three summer months alone lured 2.7 million international visitors in 2019. The autumn months of April, June, and July, on the other hand, drew just 2 million foreign visitors.

February was Australia’s busiest month in 2019, with 927.240 international arrivals. By contrast, June was the quietest—only 660.300 foreign tourists landed in June 2019. 

6. In 2018/2019, tourism accounted for $60.8 billion of Australia’s GDP.

(Tourism Australia)

It’s evident that the Australian tourism industry produces a substantial amount of income. In 2019 alone, tourism contributed $60.8 billion to the Australian economy, which is a 3.5% increase from the previous year. What’s more, tourism is Australia’s fourth-biggest exporting industry, making up 8.2% of total export earnings. 

7. 666,000 people worked in the Australian tourism sector in 2019/2020.

(Australian Bureau of Statistics)

In other words, 5.2% of the workforce in Australia was employed in the tourism industry. Working hours increased by 2.6 per cent, which is not surprising, considering that 2019 was the busiest year for tourism in Australia. Sadly, things changed drastically the following year. 

In 2020, the number of employees dropped to 621.000 people or 4.8% of the total workforce. In effect, working hours also decreased by 10.9%. 

8. The cruise industry plays a major role in Australian tourism. 

(The Port Authority of New South Wales)

Contributing $5.2 billion to the country’s economy and supporting 18,135 full-time jobs, the cruise industry is one of the most lucrative sectors of tourism in Australia. In the 2018/2019 financial year alone, there were 1,240 ship visits to the continent leading to $2.5 billion in direct spending by passengers, recent cruise industry stats confirm. 

9. China and New Zealand have recently emerged as Australia’s two most important tourism markets.

(Tourism Research Australia)

Every year, people from all over the world visit Australia. However, the continent, like any other, has its major tourist markets. 

According to Australia tourism statistics, Chinese and New Zealand visitors have been the most frequent in the country. The US, UK, and Singapore rank third through fifth.

Seen in detail, more than 1.3 million Chinese tourists came to Australia in 2019, making them the most common foreign guests. Most of the Chinese tourists in Australia travelled for recreational purposes, and they invested approximately $12.4 billion in the country’s tourist industry. 

Australia was chosen as a tourist destination by 1.29 million New Zealanders in 2019, who spent around $2.6 billion on their trips. However, the following year, the number of arrivals from New Zealand dropped to 221.000. The gross amount invested was therefore lowered by about $2.1 billion. 

10. Tourism between Australia and Japan was on the rise in 2019.

(Tourism Research Australia)

With 458.000 Japanese passengers visiting the country and spending around $2 billion in 2019, Japanese tourists certainly made an impact in Australia. However, as was the case with other countries, Japanese tourism in Australia declined in 2020 to just 87.000 visitors and a total spend of $430 million.

11. In 2019, 767.000 American tourists visited Australia.

(Tourism Research Australia)

US visitors spent $1.1 billion in 2020, down from $3.9 billion in 2019. The number of tourists in Australia from the US dropped from nearly 770 thousand to 182,000, as well.

The number of British arrivals declined too. In 2019 Australia attracted 672.000 British tourists, compared to 194.000 the year after. Two years ago, UK visitors spent $3.4 billion on their travels. By contrast, they spent $2.4 billion less in 2020, or about one billion. 

12. Singaporean tourists spent $245 million in Australia in 2020.

(Tourism Research Australia)

This sum represents a considerable drop from the $1.5 billion invested the year prior. The number of Singaporeans who travelled to Australia also declined from 417,000 to 53,000. 

Other notable nations that have visited Australia, according to data from tourism research in Australia include: 

  • India (377.000 Indian tourists invested $1.8 billion in the Australian tourism industry in 2019) 
  • Hong Kong (285.000 tourists who spent around $1.3 billion)
  • Malaysia (343.000 Malaysians arrived in Australia in 2019, spending $1.2 billion on their tours)
  • South Korea (245.000 visitors spending $1.5 billion)

Australian Outbound Tourism Statistics

13. The highest number of Australian outbound trips was recorded in 2019.

(Australian Bureau of Statistics) 

In 2019, Australian citizens made 11.3 million outbound overseas journeys, the highest number on record. By 2020, though, the frequency of travel had dropped to 2.8 million trips, representing a 75% reduction from the previous year. The majority of these return journeys took place before the border restrictions were imposed in March. 

14. New Zealand is the most popular destination for Aussies travelling abroad. 

(Australian Bureau of Statistics) 

New Zealand was the most visited country by Aussies both in 2019 and 2020, Australian tourism facts and figures note. Around 1.5 million trips were made there in 2019, while the country welcomed 438,700 Australian visitors in 2020, far more than other countries. 

Other popular destinations for Australians include:

  • Indonesia, which recorded about 1.40 million trips in 2019 and became the second most visited country for that year. 
  • The United States of America (with 1 million Australian visitors) and the United Kingdom (with 663.000) were in the top five in 2019 too.
  • China was the fifth most visited country, with 608.000 Australian tourists choosing it as their preferred place to travel.

15. Australians travel predominantly for vacation and stay away for about two weeks.

(Australian Bureau of Statistics)

In 2019, the median overseas stay for Aussies was 14 days and the main reason for travel, as cited by 57% of Australians, was holiday. Over a quarter (26%) went abroad to visit family and friends, whereas 8% travelled for work. 

While the number of Australians travelling overseas, statistics show, reduced in 2020, the median duration away increased to 17 days.  

Australia Tourism Statistics by State 

16. 118.5 million people entered New South Wales in 2019.

(Destination NSW) 

When it comes to the number of visitors and expenditure, New South Wales ranked number one, both in 2019 and 2020. 

Still, Australian tourism facts and numbers reveal that by September 2020, the number of arrivals had dropped by 26.5%. Therefore, 83.9 million people entered NSW last year, with just 2% being foreign visitors. Total expenditure also decreased to $26.1 billion from the $43.3 billion the year before, as did the number of nights spent (from 219.1 million in 2019 to 135 million nights in 2020). 

17. How many tourists visit Sydney each year?

(Destination NSW)

Up to March 2021, 23.3 million people visited Sydney, down from 25.8 million in 2020. Spending also decreased from $7.5 billion in 2020 to $4.6 billion in 2021. Despite the decline, Sydney is still the most visited city regarding the number of arrivals, nights spent, and expenditure. 

18. Victoria attracted a total of 100.4 million visitors in 2019 but just 49.7 million in 2020.

(Business Victoria) 

Australia tourism statistics show that in 2020 the state of Victoria also saw a decrease in visitors, with 49.7 million arrival trips. This is half the number of visitors, compared to 2019 when there were 100.4 million tourists in the state. As a result, tourism expenditure also decreased in 2020, down to $13 billion from $32.5 billion in 2019. 

In 2019, there were 3.1 million international visitors who invested $8.8 billion in Victorian tourism. On the other hand, there were just 615.000 international overnight tourists last year, so they only accounted for $2.5 billion of the state’s overall spending.

19. How many tourists visit Melbourne each year?

(Business Victoria) 

In 2020, 16.4 million tourists came to Melbourne, a more than double drop from the preceding year, when 39.5 million people visited one of the world’s most captivating cities. In 2020 Melbourne generated $6.2 billion from tourism, a dramatic decline from 2019 when the total visitor expenditure was $20.3 billion. 

According to Melbourne tourism statistics, the number of foreign tourists in 2020 was 578.000, a significant reduction from 3 million in 2019.

20. In 2020, 493.000 international tourists explored Queensland.

(Tourism and Events Queensland) 

Queensland tourism statistics for 2020 point out that 17.3 million overnight tourists visited the state and spent $13.1 million during their stay. 

Queensland’s international expenditure in 2020 equalled $1.4 million, down 76.8% from the year before. Furthermore, international visitors numbered 493.000, a decline of 82.3% from the 2.7 million reported in 2019. 

Judging by Brisbane tourism statistics, this was the most visited city in the region. Last year, 5 million visitors took a stroll through the city, including 273.000 international overnight visitors and 4.7 million domestic overnight tourists. Accordingly, foreign tourists spent less than domestic visitors ($780.000 vs. $2.5 million), bringing total expenditure to $3.3 million.

21. The number of overseas tourists in Western Australia in 2020 was 220.200.

(Tourism WA) 

In the previous year, almost 9 million tourists stayed in Western Australia and spent $5.6 billion on their travels.

From this total, 220.200 were international travellers, which is 77.9 per cent lower than the 995.700 foreign tourists who visited the state in 2019. International spending in 2020 was 541.000, a substantial decline from $2.3 million in 2019.

Perth, Western Australia’s largest and capital city, had 3.3 million visitors in 2020, a fall from the 5.6 million tourists in 2019. According to Perth tourism statistics, both foreign and domestic visitors invested a total of $1.7 billion in the city in 2020. In comparison to the $4.3 million invested in 2019, this is a relatively small sum.

22. Domestic visitors in South Australia outnumbered international tourists for two years in a row.

(SA Tourism Commission) 

For two consecutive years, the South Australian region has proven more attractive to domestic than international guests. In 2020, there were 106.000 visits from foreign tourists who forked out $280 million. Domestic overnight visitors, on the other hand, spent $3 billion. The previous year, the 8.1 million interstate and intrastate guests injected $5.2 billion into the region’s economy. 

23. In 2020, holidaymakers were the biggest visitors to the Northern Territory.

(Tourism NT)

The majority of visitors to NT came to the region to break away—324,000 of the tourists to the region were vacationing compared to the 201,000 who came on business and the 39,000 who were visiting friends and family. In total, 986,000 people visited the Northern Territory in 2020, spending an average of 5.7 nights and splashing out $960 per person. 

24. Tasmania accounts for 4.8% of the total number of international visitors to Australia. 

(Tourism Tasmania Corporate)

America was the region’s biggest international market, with 14,000 US tourists travelling to Tasmania, tourism statistics for 2020 reveal. The USA was followed by China and the UK, both of which sent more than 10,000 guests to the state. 

When it comes to domestic travel, most of the interstate visitors arrived from Victoria (176,400) and New South Wales (118,900). 

25. Most international tourists came to the ACT for a holiday.

(VisitCanberra)

43% of foreign visitors to the Australian Capital Territory arrived on holiday, opposed to 17% who were visiting friends and relatives and 14% who travelled on business. Similarly, domestic day visitors came to the ACT for holidays (44%), VFR (21%) and business (17%). Interstate guests, however, mostly travelled to the region to visit family and friends and for work (34% each). 

In 2020, there were 5.87 million tourists in the ACT, spending $2.5 billion. Of these, 230,00 were international visitors, 3.02 million were domestic, and the rest were domestic guests who didn’t stay overnight. 

Impact of Coronavirus on Australian Tourism

26. International tourism suffered losses of $40.7 billion in the year ending in March 2021.

(Tourism Research Australia) 

The restrictions that were placed in March 2020 had a huge impact on tourism trends in Australia. Unfortunately, Australian inbound tourism has suffered tremendously as a result of the country’s travel bans.

Domestic overnight travel saw losses in the amount of $33.1 billion, while $9.1 billion were lost from reduced domestic day travel.

The number of international tourists went down to 60,212, a drop of 99.3%. The number of nights spent also decreased to 6.2 million, as did expenditure, which declined by 98.1% to reach a low of $794 million.

The percentage of international travellers from all countries declined significantly, most notably from the USA (99%), the UK (99.1%) and Japan (99.8%). 

27. The coronavirus pandemic caused damage to Australia’s most prominent tourist markets.

(Tourism Research Australia)  

Australia placed travel restrictions on one of the country’s most important tourist markets, China. As a result, Chinese tourism in Australia dropped by 58% in the first quarter of 2020, with a 46% drop in spending.

In the year ending March 2021, the number of Chinese guests declined even further—going down by 99.8%, or 1.1 million visitors less. 

28. Domestic travellers have begun taking shorter vacations and spending less money in 2020.

(Tourism Research Australia) 

The pandemic also influenced domestic tourism in Australia, with mobility limitations and safety protocols changing the travelling habits of citizens. Thus, the average trip in Q2 2020 cost $385 per person as opposed to $648 in the same quarter in 2019. In fact, gross spending fell to $45.6 billion, or $35.1 billion less. 

Even though domestic overnight trips decreased 38% to 72.5 million, two-thirds of Australians stated that they feel safe to travel within the borders of the country. 

International vs Domestic Aviation Statistics

29. Singapore Airlines is the leading international carrier.

(Tourism Australia)

By May 2021, there were 164 international flights a week to Australia. The overall number of inbound seats was 2.3 million, Australian tourism industry statistics report.

Singapore Airlines is the biggest international carrier with ten flights a week and an average of 149,707 inbound seats. It is followed by Air New Zealand, which recorded an average of 8 flights a week and 106,871 inbound seats in 2021.

30. The continent sees an average of 3,111 domestic flights per week.

(Tourism Australia)

In 2021, 19.6 million passengers flew within Australia. The number of seats was 5.1 million, a 52% decrease from the previous year. The number of passengers was lowest in March 2021, when only 12 million people travelled by aeroplane within the country. 

31.  With 340 flights a week, Melbourne-Sydney was the busiest domestic route.

(Tourism Australia)

Over the past year, the Melbourne-Sydney route was Australia’s busiest and most important route, with 340 flights a week and 2.7 million seats. It is followed by the Brisbane-Sydney route, which recorded 224 flights a week and 1.6 million seats. 

Stats on Australian Landmarks

32. The Sydney Opera House is one of the most recognisable landmarks in Australia. 

(Sydney Opera House)

One of the most remarkable landmarks, the Sydney Opera House is a symbol not only of the city but of the entire continent as well. 

Officially opened in 1973, this incredible piece of architecture took 14 years to complete and cost a whopping $102 million. According to Sydney tourism statistics, this landmark is visited by more than 10.9 million people every year. 

33. The Great Barrier Reef is one of the seven wonders of the natural world. 

(GBRMPA) (Reef Resilience) 

920.000 visitor days were logged in to the Marine Park last year, Great Barrier Reef tourism statistics indicate. This is a decline from the previous year when 2.4 million visitor days were reported.

High visitor numbers are not always great news. Even though tourists contribute significantly to the economy, they also pose a risk to the Reef. The coral colonies are directly affected by the activities of visitors who kick, touch or overturn entire colonies, as well as indirectly through water pollution and the disposal of plastic waste in the ocean.  

34. Bondi beach became a public beach in June 1882.

(Bondi 38) (Destination NSW) 

Bondi Beach is located in Sydney, a 30-minute drive from the city centre. It’s one kilometre long, and the ocean waves reach a height of 4 meters. So, how many people visit Bondi beach each year?

Bondi Beach attracts an annual average of 2.8 million visitors. In 2019, an impressive 3.4 million people came to this famous attraction, 51% of whom were international tourists, 33% were domestic overnight visitors, and 16% were Australians who spent a day on the beach.

Before You Pack Your Bags… 

Like the rest of the world, Australia has been hit hard by the pandemic. However, considering past Australia tourism statistics, there is no doubt that the industry will quickly recover once borders are open again. So whether you are traveling to or from this fabulous destination, check your passport, get your travel insurance ready, complete your sightseeing list so you’re all set  to hit the road once health and safety measures allow it. 

Sources:

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