We all know this was coming….a first look at COVID-19 travel numbers

The ABS release of the short-term arrivals data for January gives us what we all knew was coming; our first look at tourism data in the COVID-19 era.

Of course this data relates to the period prior to the Chinese travel ban coming into force (which started on Feb 1st). Seasonally adjusted data shows year-on-year arrivals fell 2.0%; from China the figure was down 18.2% while New Zealand (once again our largest market) grew 3.9% y/y. What the chart below makes abundantly clear is that the Chinese market had already started to decline sharply even before the most recent developments.

None of this really makes much sense given what we already know about what has happened since January; and obviously moving forward we really have no clear idea yet about what the future data might look like. Suffice to say that with the recently announced 14-day self-quarantine for all international arrivals this data set is not going to be looking pretty for quite some time!

The State of Intended Stay data, seen through the Conus Trend series, shows total arrivals up 1.6% y/y with NSW faring particularly badly (down 2.7%), Victoria and QLD doing relatively well (up 3.6% and 3.2% repsectively) while Tasmania continues to storm ahead (up 10.8% y/y).


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