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3401.0 - Overseas Arrivals and Departures, Australia, Dec 2003  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 12/02/2004   
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KEY FIGURES


Nov 03
Dec 02
Dec
to Dec
to Dec
03
03
03
%
%
'000
change
change
Short-term visitor arrivals

Trend
440.0
1.0
..
Seasonally adjusted
440.8
0.3
..
Original
566.6
. .
6.1
Short-term resident departures
Trend
322.8
2.2
. .
Seasonally adjusted
336.3
6.9
. .
Original
420.2
. .
15.1




KEY POINTS

TREND ESTIMATES
  • Trend estimates in this issue take into account the impact of recent world events. See paragraphs 21 and 22 of the Explanatory Notes for more detail.
  • Short-term visitor arrivals continue to increase steadily with the trend estimate for December 2003 (440,000 movements) representing an increase of 1.0% compared to November 2003 and followed an increase of 1.1% for October and 1.0% for November.
  • Short-term resident departures also continue to increase steadily. The trend estimate for December 2003 (322,800 movements) represents an increase of 2.2% from the previous month and followed an increase of 2.3% for October and 2.4% November.


SEASONALLY ADJUSTED ESTIMATES
  • The seasonally adjusted estimate of short-term visitor arrivals for December 2003 (440,800 movements) increased by 0.3% compared to the previous month and followed an decrease of 1.6% for October and an increase of 2.9% for November.
  • Short-term departures of Australian residents for December 2003 (336,300 movements) increased by 6.9% compared to November 2003 and followed an increase of 0.2% for October and 3.5% for November.


ORIGINAL ESTIMATES
  • In original terms there were 566,600 short-term visitors to Australia in December 2003, an increase of 6.1% compared to December 2002 (534,000 movements).
  • There were 420,200 short-term departures of Australian residents, an increase of 15.1% compared to December 2002 (365,100 movements).


NOTES


EARLY ESTIMATES

Early estimates of short-term visitor arrivals for January 2004 will be available on the ABS website http://www.abs.gov.au on 16 February 2004. These estimates can be accessed by going to the home page and selecting Main Features (located under Statistical Products and Services) and then 34. Migration. Select Short-term Visitor Arrival Estimates, Australia (cat. no. 3401.0.55.001).


DATA NOTES

For data quality issues see the appendix of this publication.

This publication contains movement data. Care should be taken when interpreting this movement data as 'people'. See paragraph 5 of the Explanatory Notes for more detail.

Calculations of percentage and numeric change as shown in the Key Points and/or Main Features of this publication are based on unrounded data. See paragraph 11 of Explanatory Notes for more detail.


ABBREVIATIONS

ABSAustralian Bureau of Statistics
ASCCSSAustralian Standard Classification of Countries for Social Statistics
DIMIADepartment of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs
OADOverseas Arrivals and Departures Collection
SARSpecial Administrative Region
TRIPSTravel and Immigration Processing System


INQUIRIES

For further information about these and related statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070 or Chrissy Beruldsen on Canberra (02) 6252 5640.


MAIN FEATURES

SHORT-TERM VISITOR ARRIVALS

According to seasonally adjusted estimates, the number of short-term visitor arrivals has increased from a low 330,800 in May 2003 to 440,800 in December 2003. The top ten source countries for short-term visitor arrivals for December 2003 and the percentage and numeric change compared to December 2002 are presented in the table below.

SHORT-TERM VISITOR ARRIVALS, Major Source Countries-December 2003

December
December
Numeric
Percentage
2003
2002
change
change
'000
'000
'000
%

United Kingdom
106.2
103.3
2.9
2.8
New Zealand
82.5
68.1
14.4
21.1
Japan
73.0
70.0
2.9
4.2
United States of America
42.6
41.1
1.5
3.6
Singapore
36.4
37.9
-1.5
-4.0
China
22.0
18.2
3.9
21.3
Korea
18.2
18.9
-0.6
-3.4
Malaysia
18.0
18.4
-0.3
-1.9
Germany
15.6
13.0
2.6
19.6
Hong Kong (SAR of China)
13.3
15.2
-1.9
-12.4



SHORT-TERM RESIDENT DEPARTURES

In seasonally adjusted terms, the number of short-term resident departures increased from 232,400 in April 2003 to 336,300 in December 2003. The top ten destinations of short-term resident departures for December 2003 and the percentage and numeric change compared to December 2002 are presented in the table below.

SHORT-TERM RESIDENT DEPARTURES, Major Destinations-December 2003

December
December
Numeric
Percentage
2003
2002
change
change
'000
'000
'000
%

New Zealand
96.5
79.1
17.3
21.9
United States of America
33.7
30.2
3.5
11.7
United Kingdom
29.8
27.6
2.1
7.8
Indonesia
24.8
11.7
13.1
112.1
Hong Kong (SAR of China)
17.6
18.8
-1.2
-6.5
Thailand
15.3
13.0
2.3
17.9
Malaysia
15.2
12.3
2.8
23.0
China
14.8
15.7
-0.8
-5.2
Fiji
14.4
12.0
2.4
19.7
Singapore
14.0
11.4
2.5
22.2



STATISTICAL SIGNIFICANCE

The above presentation of movements in estimates does not consider whether the change in movement is statistically significant. Care should be taken when interpreting the impact of numeric and/or percentage change. Please see the Standard Errors section under Quality Measures.


SHORT-TERM VISITOR DEPARTURES

In 2003 there were 4,789,800 visitors who departed Australia after a stay of less than 12 months, down 2.1% on 2002. Comparing 2003 with 2002, visitors who spent most time in Northern Territory declined 20.6%, New South Wales declined 5.4% and Western Australia 2.3%. Increases occurred for Victoria (up 5.4%), the Australian Capital Territory (up 5.8%) and Tasmania (up 5.6%).


PERMANENT AND LONG-TERM MOVEMENTS

There were 9,080 permanent (settler) arrivals to Australia during December 2003, an increase of 25% compared to December 2002 (7,250 movements). Settlers born in the United Kingdom (18%) accounted for the largest proportion of permanent arrivals for December 2003. The second largest proportion of settlers were born in New Zealand (15%).

Statistics on OAD relate to the number of movements of travellers rather than the number of travellers. Therefore, care should be taken when using long-term arrivals data as it is known some individuals who travel multiple times in a year are counted each time they cross Australia's borders (see paragraph 5 of Explanatory Notes). Long-term arrivals in this publication are not an appropriate source of migration statistics. For further information refer to Australian Demographic Statistics (cat. no. 3101.0).

There were 5,280 Australian residents departing permanently from Australia during December 2003, an increase of 17% compared to December 2002 (4,510 movements).

SHORT-TERM VISITOR ARRIVALS IN 2003 - YEAR IN REVIEW

In 2003 there were 4,745,900 short-term visitor arrivals to Australia, representing a decrease of 2% compared to 2002. This is the third year in which a decline in short-term visitor arrivals was recorded. However, the time series is affected by events such as the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games which resulted in higher than usual overseas visitor arrivals for that year.

Impact of world events

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and anticipation and commencement of military action in Iraq had a significant impact on short-term visitor arrivals to Australia in the first half of 2003. In seasonally adjusted terms, February to May 2003 recorded consecutive monthly declines in the number of overseas visitors. May 2003 (330,800 movements) recorded the lowest monthly number of seasonally adjusted movements for the year, and April 2003 experienced the largest monthly numeric and percentage decline (down 44,600 movements or 12%). This was the largest down-turn in short-term visitor arrivals ever recorded, even when compared to other significant world events, such as the Asian recession (1997 – 1998), and the 9/11 terrorist attacks (2001).




Since the trough experienced in May 2003, monthly seasonally adjusted estimates have indicated a recovery in short-term visitor arrivals to Australia. December 2003 (440,800 movements) experienced the peak monthly number of arrivals for the year, representing an increase of 33% compared to May 2003.

In seasonally adjusted terms, the quarters ended September and December 2003 both experienced an increase in visitors compared to the corresponding periods in 2002 (up 2% and 5% respectively). The large increase of visitors during this period may be attributed to people taking previously postponed travel and Australia hosting the 2003 Rugby World Cup (10 September 2003 – 22 November 2003).

The trend series smoothes out the affect of one-off, non-seasonal events, such as the Rugby World Cup, from the seasonally adjusted series, and reveals the underlying behaviour of the series without the influence of such events. August to December 2003 recorded high monthly trend estimates for short-term visitor arrivals to Australia (peaking in December 2003 at 440,000 movements), exceeding the high levels experienced after the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games (peaking in January 2001 at 420,600 movements). This may indicate a regaining confidence in travel to Australia after the many world events that have impacted on international travel.

Country of residence

In original terms, the main countries of residence of short-term visitor arrivals to Australia in 2003 were New Zealand (18%) and the United Kingdom (14%), both of which also recorded positive growth compared to 2002 (up 6% and 5% respectively). Of the top 10 source countries for 2003, visitors from Korea recorded the largest percentage increase compared to 2002 (up 9% or 17,600 movements). This was the fifth consecutive year in which visitors from Korea experienced an annual increase. The United States of America continued to be a major source of visitor arrivals to Australia in 2003 (accounting for 9%), but experienced a decrease of 3% (or 12,300 movements) compared to 2002.

Visitor arrivals from Northeast and Southeast Asia decreased by 9% and 7% respectively compared to 2002. This can be largely attributed to the impact of SARS, with large declines recorded from March to May 2003 compared to the corresponding period in 2002 (down 26% and 28% respectively). In 2003, visitor arrivals from Hong Kong (down 14%), Japan, Singapore (both down 12%) and Thailand (down 11%) all experienced annual declines compared with 2002. Arrivals from China also experienced a down-turn of 7% (or 13,900 movements) in 2003, after recording annual increases of 31% in 2001 and 20% in 2002. However, the 2003 December quarter recorded an increase of 15% or 7,800 movements compared to the corresponding period in 2002, which may indicate regaining confidence in travel of visitors from China.


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