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Year ending December 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19) has had a significant impact on international travel to Australia. Our data shows the effects of this on Australia’s tourism industry.

You can:

  • read about the factors influencing international travel to Australia
  • see the changes compared over the various timeframes impacted by bushfires and Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Quarterly snapshot

International visitor spend

Year ending December 2020 | $11.0 billion | Down 76%

International visitors

Year ending December 2020 | 1.7 million | Down 80%

Visitor nights

Year ending December 2020 | 69 million | Down 75%

Key results

Total international and domestic tourism losses for the year ending December 2020 reached $78.3 billion.

Australia’s international border restrictions came into place in March due to COVID-19. Since then:

  • international visitor numbers fell by 80% to 1.7 million for the year ending December 2020
  • international visitor spend was down by 76% to $11.0 billion. This was a loss of $34.3 billion compared to the year ending December 2019
  • visitor nights were down 75% to 69 million.

Overall, international tourism saw losses of $34.3 billion (down 76%) for the year ending December 2020. This was due to the impacts of COVID-19. Most losses ($22.3 billion) occurred in the last 6 months from July to December 2020.

Over the same period, there were further losses of:

  • $35.1 billion from domestic overnight travel
  • $8.9 billion from domestic day travel.

Australia’s top 5 markets

Australia’s top 5 markets saw significant losses.


China saw flat results even prior to 2020. In the year ending December 2019, there was no change in visitor numbers and spend was up only 6% on 2018.

From early 2020, China started to see losses in both visitors and spend. It recorded falls of 58% in visitors and 46% in spend in the March quarter. This was due to COVID-19 travel restrictions on Chinese visitors from 1 February onwards.

Visitor numbers for China fell 86% to 184,000. Spend was down 78% ($9.7 billion) overall for the year ending December 2020.

New Zealand

New Zealand visitor numbers fell 83% to 221,000. Spend fell 80% for the year ending December 2020. This was a loss of $2.1 billion.

United States of America

The United States of America saw a 76% drop in visitors to 182,000. There was a 72% fall in spend for the year ending December 2020. This was a loss of $2.8 billion.


Visitors from Japan fell by 81% to 87,000. Spend fell 79% for the year ending December 2020. This was a loss of $1.7 billion.

United Kingdom

There was slightly less impact for the United Kingdom, with visitors down 71% to 194,000 and spend down 69%. This was a loss of $2.3 billion.

Data tables

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