Passenger arrivals from overseas have risen and departures from Australia have fallen, continuing a two-year improving trend in travel flows dominated by China.
The number of short-term travellers arriving in Australian September rose by 15,200 to 637,100 in seasonally adjusted terms, while departures fell 7,300 to 775,300, figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics on Monday show.
The gap between arrivals and departures was 138,200, down from 181,100 a year ago and 206,400 in September 2013.
Growth in Australian resident departures has slowed since the Australian dollar topped out and started to drift lower in mid-2103.
But the improving trend in travel, part of the economy’s “rebalancing” as the mining investment boom tapers off, has been dominated by the acceleration in arrivals of visiting foreigners.
The improving trend has continued over the past year, with arrivals of visiting foreigners up by 62,900 a month, compared with departures which were up only 20,000 this September compared with a year earlier.
China, including Hong Hong, accounted for more than one third of the annual increase in arrivals, with a rise of 22,200 to 113,500, making China the biggest source of visitors to Australia for the first time.
That place had previously been held by New Zealand, which now in second place with a rise of 7,700 to 110,000.