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.

Unconventional Economist

Leith van Onselen is Chief Economist at the MB Fund and MB Super. Leith has previously worked at the Australian Treasury, Victorian Treasury and Goldman Sachs.

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