3401.0 - Overseas Arrivals and Departures, Australia, Dec 2016 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 13/02/2017   
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MEDIA RELEASE
12/2017
13 February 2017
Embargo: 11.30am (Canberra Time)
Chinese visitor arrivals hit 1.2 million in 2016


Chinese residents made a record number of visits to Australia in the 2016 calendar year, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Short-term trips from China have grown from 500 in 1976 to 1.2 million in 2016, (trend series) making it the country with the highest growth rate in that period.

Jessica Noack from the ABS Migration Analysis and Reporting Team said that there had been a phenomenal growth in arrivals from China over the past 40 years.

"China has almost caught up to New Zealand as the most popular source country for visitors to Australia," she said.

"After China, visitors from Vietnam had the highest growth rate over the past 40 years, growing from 100 in 1976 to 70,500 in 2016. United Arab Emirates had the next highest growth rate, increasing from 100 in 1976 to 40,900 in 2016 while visitors from South Korea grew from 1,200 in 1976 to 286,000 in 2016.

"Of the top 10 source countries in 1976 and 2016, seven appeared for both years: New Zealand, USA, UK, Singapore, Japan, Malaysia and Hong Kong. In 1976 these seven made up over two-thirds of short-term visitor arrivals while in 2016 those same countries accounted for over half of the total number of short-term visits.

"Countries that made the top 10 list in 2016 that didn't appear in 1976 were China, South Korea and India.

"In 2016, New Zealand was still our top source country, with the number of short-term arrivals nine times higher than that in 1976.

"After New Zealand and China, the most popular sources of travellers in 2016 were the USA (714,700), the United Kingdom (709,600) and Singapore (443,600)."

Ms Noack noted that New South Wales remained the most popular destination for overseas visitors in 2016, claiming nearly 38 per cent of all short-term trips. It was followed by Victoria (25 per cent) and Queensland (22 per cent).

"The most frequently cited reason for journey was for a holiday, making up over half of all journeys, and the median amount of time people spent in Australia was 11 days," said Ms Noack.

Further information can be found in Overseas Arrivals and Departures, Australia, December 2016 (cat. no. 3401.0), available for free from the ABS website http://www.abs.gov.au.

Media notes:

  • When reporting ABS data, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or ABS) must be attributed as the source.
  • For media requests and interviews, contact the ABS Communications Section on 1300 175 070 (8.30am - 5pm Mon-Fri).
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SHORT-TERM VISITOR ARRIVALS, Top 10 Source Countries in 2016 Calendar Year, Australia, Trend Series

2016
1976
Source countries
'000
'000

New Zealand
1 340.2
148.6
China
1 213.1
0.5
United States of America
714.7
75.3
UK, CIs & IOM(a)
709.6
72.7
Singapore
443.6
9.4
Japan
411.6
27.9
Malaysia
388.0
10.3
Korea, South
286.0
1.2
India
260.4
3.6
Hong Kong
245.6
10.8
Total(b)
8 247.8
535.6

(a) United Kingdom, Channel Islands and Isle of Man.
(b) Total includes short-term arrivals from every source country so components will not add to the total.