Covid-19 travel restrictions resulted in a 99 per cent drop in overseas arrivals to Australia in April, compared to April last year, as international travel grinds to a halt.
The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show that of the nearly 22,000 arrivals to Australia last month, more than two-thirds were Australian citizens returning from overseas, while just under 7000 arrivals were non-Australian citizens.
The large decrease reflects the travel restrictions progressively put in place from the beginning of February due to the pandemic outbreak.
Overseas visitor arrivals dropped by 60 per cent in March, in comparison to March 2019, with drops recorded in each state and territory.
Speaking in Parliament on Tuesday, treasurer Josh Frydenberg said domestic and international air travel is down by more than 97 per cent.
“With nearly 40,000 passengers moving through Brisbane airport on Easter Sunday last year, compared to just 31 passengers this year,” he said.
“The pandemic is not just an enormous health challenge but an economic one as well,” Frydenberg said on Tuesday.
New South Wales received the largest volume of international arrivals, at 114,500 visitors, ABS stats show this figure is down 64 per cent compared to March 2019.
Queensland recorded a 63 per cent decline in visitor numbers in March, followed by Victoria -58 per cent, South Australia -54 per cent, Western Australia -53 per cent, Tasmania -51 per cent, and the ACT -43 per cent.
The Northern Territory saw the largest fall with a 66 per cent decline.
Focusing on short-term trips less than one year, the ABS statistics, took in all international travel, including tourism trips, arriving in and departing from Australia.
“In March 2020, there were 331,900 visitors who had arrived for a short-term trip compared to 836,300 12 months earlier,” ABS director of migration statistics Jenny Dobak said.
Dobak says the notable March decline in visitor arrivals to Australia was from all regions around the world.
“Even our largest source country New Zealand, recorded a 56 per cent drop.
“Of the top 10 source countries, China recorded the largest decrease of 78 per cent followed closely by Japan with a decrease of 75 per cent.”