Chinese tourists return to Australia

The Australian Bureau of Statistics yesterday released its overseas short-term arrivals and departures figures for July.

The number of short-term visitor arrivals rose by 19.7% in July in original terms, whereas short-term resident departures fell by 2.1% over the month. The ratio of annual arrivals to departures also rebounded to 81.2%:

Net short-term arrivals remain heavily in deficit and are have deteriorated recently:

In the 12 months to June 2019, the annual number of arrivals rose by 2.1% relative to the corresponding period of the prior year, whereas departures rose by 1.1%:

In the year to July 2019, 9.4 million inbound visitors arrived in Australia over the year – a 72% increase on a decade ago (5.4 million). The number of Australians traveling overseas was 11.53 million – an 87% increase on 10 years ago (6.2 million).

The next chart shows that short-term arrivals were dominated by holiday makers and those visiting friends and families:

As shown below, most foreign visitors to Australia came from NE Asia, which accounted for 29% of arrivals:

In particular, arrivals from China rebounded, and hit a record high 123,000 in July:

This is shown more clearly in the next chart, whereby in rolling annual terms, Chinese arrivals have flatlined in number terms and are falling in percentage share terms:

So, despite the recent monthly increases, Chinese arrivals are flatlining in annual terms.

Leith van Onselen
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