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Year ending September 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 September 2020 | $22.4 billion | Down 51%

International visitors

Year ending September 2020 | 4.1 million | Down 52%

Visitor nights

Year ending September 2020 | 134 million | Down 51%

Results for year ending September 2020

Since the introduction of Australia’s international border restrictions in March due to COVID-19:

  • international visitor numbers fell by 52% to 4.1 million for the year ending September 2020
  • international visitor spend was down by 51% to $22.4 billion. This was a loss of $22.9 billion compared to the year ending September 2019
  • visitor nights were down 51% to 134 million.

Results by purpose of visit

The decline has been significant for all visit categories. This includes:

  • business travellers – down 57% to 426,000
  • holiday travellers – down 53% to 1.9 million
  • education visitors – down 55% to 266,000.

The decline was slightly less for those visiting friends or relatives (down 48% to 1.3 million).

Australia’s top 5 markets

Australia’s top 5 markets saw significant losses.


China saw losses in visitor numbers and spend from early in 2020. It recorded a fall of 58% in visitors and 46% fall in spend in the March quarter. This was due to travel restrictions on Chinese visitors from 1 February onwards, in response to COVID-19.

Visitor numbers for China fell 63% and spend was down $7.3 billion overall for the year ending September 2020.

New Zealand

New Zealand saw a fall in visitor numbers and spend of 54% for the year ending September 2020 (a loss of $1.4 billion).

United States of America

The United States of America saw a 48% drop in visitor numbers. It also recorded a drop of 45% in spend (a loss of $1.8 billion).


Japan saw a 53% drop in visitor numbers and a 52% drop in spend (a loss of $1.1 billion).

United Kingdom

There was slightly less impact for the United Kingdom (UK), with visitor numbers down 37% and spend down 36%. This was a loss of $1.2 billion.

There was less impact because the second and third quarters of each year are usually the low season for UK arrivals. The second and third quarters of 2020 were the key COVID-19-impacted quarters. Visitor numbers from the UK typically double in the December and March quarter.

Results for the 2020 calendar year

COVID-19 started to impact international travel to Australia in February 2020. Restrictions were placed on some international markets. Australia’s borders then closed from 20 March.

Overall, international tourism saw losses of $23 billion (down 68%) since the start of 2020 to the end of September. This was due to the impacts of COVID-19. Most losses ($19.1 billion) occurred in the 6 months from April to September 2020.

Over the same period, there were further losses of:

  • $28.8 billion from domestic overnight travel
  • $7.3 billion from domestic day travel.

This brings total international and domestic tourism losses for January to September 2020 to $59.1 billion.

Data tables

Contact TRA