Australian tourism is still lagging behind pre-pandemic levels despite an overall resurgence over the past year.
Fresh data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed total arrivals in 2022 reached just 45 per cent of 2019 levels.
Close to 3.7m tourists touched down in Australia in 2022, up 15 per cent from the previous year.
But that figure is still down 2.5m people from a decade ago.
The figures suggest that despite a slow start to the year international tourism built as travel restrictions were lifted.
New Zealand topped the list for the largest source of arrivals in 2022 with visitors flocking to our shores.
The Kiwi’s love for Australia knocked China from the top spot which it held in 2019.
A surge in arrivals from India (303,000) and Singapore (296,000) helped boost tourism numbers from 2019 levels.
In contrast, there were just 89,000 arrivals from China – accounting for just 6 per cent of pre-pandemic levels.
In 2019, more than 1.4m Chinese tourists visited Australia, spending an estimated $10.3bn
After almost three years of closed borders, Chinese people are now able to travel freely.
But Australia is not on a China approved-list for tour groups and evidence of a negative Covid test is still required to enter the country.
Austrade research released last month forecast the number of Chinese tourists will not return to pre-pandemic levels until 2026.
More than 40,000 Chinese students are expected to return to Australia after Beijing announced a snap ban on online learning at foreign universities.
New South Wales remained the most popular state, receiving 35.5 per cent of all short term visitors (people staying less than 12 months), followed by Victoria (26.4 per cent) and Queensland (21.0 per cent).
New Zealand was the largest source of visitors to NSW, Victoria, Queensland and Tasmania while people from India made South Australia their destination.
Meanwhile, Singapore was the largest source of arrivals for West Australia while ACT and NT had the largest number of arrivals from the US.
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