Chinese visitor arrivals hit fresh all-time high

The Australian Bureau of Statistics yesterday published its overseas short-term arrivals figures for September, with Chinese visitors hitting fresh all-time highs.

The number of short-term visitor arrivals rose by 0.7% in the year to September, whereas short-term resident departures only rose by 2.3%. The ratio of annual arrivals to departures also rose to 81.4%:

Net short-term arrivals also remained heavily in deficit:

In the year to September 2019, 9.4 million inbound visitors arrived in Australia over the year – a 72% increase on a decade ago (5.5 million). The number of Australians traveling overseas was 11.6 million – an 85% 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 surged, hitting a record high 126,500 in September:

Chinese arrivals also hit an all-time high 1.46 million in the year to September, accounting for 15.4% of total arrivals to Australia:

Therefore, while the flow of Chinese international students is beginning to wane:

Overall arrivals from China continue to boom, driven by tourism and visits to family members living in Australia.

Leith van Onselen
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