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New Zealand trips driving Australia’s international travel recovery

New Zealand is leading recent growth in short-term visitor arrivals to Australia, according to data released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Travel between Australia and New Zealand was a major contributor to the increase in short-term international trips in 2022-23. New Zealand was the leading source country for short-term visitor arrivals (18 per cent) as well as the leading destination for Australians returning from a short-term trip overseas (14 per cent).

While both the number of Australian residents returning from overseas, and the number of visitor arrivals from overseas increased in 2022-23, they remain below pre-COVID levels of 2018-19.

Jenny Dobak, ABS head of migration statistics, said: “Since the COVID 19 travel restrictions were lifted, short-term resident returns has recovered more strongly than visitor arrivals. By June 2023, the volume of short-term resident returns had reached 87 per cent of pre-COVID levels, after falling to less than 1 per cent back in October 2021.

“Visitor arrivals initially recovered more slowly when restrictions were first lifted but have steadily increased towards pre-pandemic levels. By June 2023, the volume of visitor arrivals reached 82 per cent of pre-COVID levels”.


During the pandemic, visiting friends and relatives surpassed holidaying as the most frequently reported reason for travel for short-term visitor arrivals to Australia. While, the proportion of holidaymakers has increased, reaching 36 per cent in 2022-23, visiting friends and relatives remained the most frequently reported reason at 41 per cent.


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