Globetrotting Australians on the move again

Woman walking down aisle of a airplane. | Newsreel
Flying high - Australians have returned to pre-pandemic overseas travel patterns. | iStock

Australians have resumed their love of overseas travel with departure numbers returning to pre-pandemic levels in recent months.

In December 2023, overseas departures from Australia topped two million for the month for the first time since December 2019.

At the lowest points during the COVID-19 crisis, barely 30,000 people a month were travelling abroad.

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Arrivals and Departure data for January 2024 showed 1,745,840 people left to travel overseas in that month, 368,990 more than a year before.

Short-term visitor arrivals were also up, by 514,060 to 2,122,070. The biggest groups of visitors came from New Zealand (94,410), China (71,170) and The United States (63,980).

Despite the increases, tourism to Australia has still not reached pre-pandemic levels. In January 2019, Australia recorded 731,130 arrivals, compared to 603,770 in January this year, and 412,410 in the same month in 2023.

Queensland is showing similar recovery trends to the national figures after tourism numbers fell as low as 5790 in January 2022.

“(In January this year) there were 105,180 short-term visitor arrivals (to Queensland), an increase of 31,490 compared with the corresponding month of the previous year,” the ABS said.

“The number of trips for January 2024 was 25.6% lower than pre-COVID levels in January 2019.”

More details at Australian Bureau of Statistics

Overseas arrivals and departures
Travel is recovering quickly after being smashed by the pandemic | Australian Bureau of Statistics