Disruptions to the tourism sector

COVID-19 has delivered the largest shock the Australian tourism industry has ever experienced. Every part of the industry has been affected. The industry has shown resilience in the past to social, environmental and economic shocks. However, COVID-19 has been a far greater challenge.

Results July to December 2019

Tourism’s performance for the first half of the financial year was consistent with the strong growth of the last decade. Compared to the same period in 2018–19:

  • international visitors increased by 2%, with spend in Australia increasing by 4%
  • domestic overnight visitors increased by 8%, with spend increasing by 8%
  • domestic day trips increased by 20%, with spend increasing by 17%.

Results January to June 2020

For the second half of the year, the sector experienced a series of shocks:

  • bushfire devastation over the Christmas and New Year period
  • global breakout of COVID-19
  • international border closures
  • state border closures
  • local lockdowns
  • mobility restrictions
  • social distancing
  • local COVID-19 clusters (especially community transmission).

This led to dramatic declines in tourism demand compared to the same period in 2018–19:

  • international visitors fell by 60%, with spend falling by 53%
  • domestic overnight visitors fell by 43%, with spend falling by 45%
  • domestic day trip visitors fell by 34%, with spend falling by 32%.