Whether measured by arrivals or departures, overseas travel to and from Australia is growing at a rapid pace.
And while more Australians continue to leave than international guests who arrive, the gap between the two is narrowing fast, thanks in part to recent weakness in the Australian dollar.
According to the ABS, short-term overseas arrivals to Australia rose to 8.198 million in the 12 months to November 2016, the highest annual total on record.
That was 11% higher than the number of arrivals reported in the 12 months to November 2015, and only fractionally below the 11.2% annual rate reported in October, the fastest growth in 12 years.
As shown in the chart below, much of that increase is due to strong growth in arrivals from China.
Including arrivals from Hong Kong, the total over the past 12 months stood at 1.453 million, well ahead of second-placed New Zealand at 1.339 million.
Like the number of international guests that traveled to Australia’s shores, Australian short-term residential departures also rose to a record high over the past year, hitting 9.855 million.
That number was up 4.62% on the levels seen in the year to November 2015, so just under half the increase reported for arrivals.
The most popular destination for Australian residents remained New Zealand, clocking up 1.311 million short-term departures in the past 12 months. Indonesia, at 1.251 million, took out second top spot, and appears set to replace New Zealand as the number one destination for Australian should the current trend be maintained.
In terms of net arrivals and departures, there were approximately 1.656 million more resident departures than international arrivals over the past 12 months.
While that trend has been in place since February 2008, the annual difference between the two was the smallest recorded since June 2011.
Clearly the lower Australian dollar has been a major influence behind that outcome.