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Saturday, 23 May 2015

Record visitors in 2014 driven by explosion from China

Bang-bang!

These Overseas Arrivals and Departures data releases seem to be a little like London buses of late.

You wait seemingly forever for one to rock up, and then you get two of them back-to-back.

It seems like only yesterday we were trundling through these figures, but let's take a quick shuftie anyway.

Migration slows

The figures showed a healthy rebound in the number of permanent and long-term arrivals into Australia in December, jumping from 46,430 to 52,160 in December.

However, the number of long-term departures jumped too, and more substantially so.

On a rolling annual basis, therefore, net long term migration is slowing considerably, declining by 18 per cent in the 2014 calendar year to 324,000. 


These figures are commensurate with total population growth per annum in Australia continuing to pull back from above 350,000 at present down towards 300,000.

Short-term arrivals record (China!)

On the flip side total short-term arrivals in Australia blasted past 6.9 million in 2014.

This demolished the previous record set in 2013 of 6.38 million.



The stand-out trend is of course clearly visible in all Australian capital cities.

I took the below photo this week at the cathedral in Sydney, but I might just as well upload a photo from Kangaroo Point cliffs in Brisbane - where minibus tours are to be seen daily - or the Blue Mountains, or particularly Hobart, where the explosion in Chinese tourism and spend has been extraordinary.


In 2014 there were some 1.18 million visitors from China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, a rolling annual figure which is rising sharply by the month.


There are still plenty of Kiwis visiting Australian shores, despite what other migration trends suggest, at more than 1.2 million in 2014.


These figures are notable for two reasons.

The boom in Chinese visitors combined with a lower Australian dollar is helping is helping to drive a punchy rebound in the tourism sector.

And secondly, the data gives us a strong hint as to where Australia is headed in the future.

Settlers

Indeed, the impact of Asian migration is already becoming more than evident in the "settlers" data.

In calendar year 2014, fewer than 9,000 Poms settled in Australia, down from nearly 25,000 in 2008. 

Brits are evidently seeing more employment opportunities at home these days ("UK economy a job-creating machine?"), while movements in the exchange rate have not been too kind either.

The drop-off in Kiwi settlers has been even more dramatic from a peak of all but 35,000 in 2012 to just over half of that number in 2014. 

This compares with close to 17,500 settlers from China and more than 19,000 from India in 2014.


Indeed, in aggregate settlers in Australia in 2014 overwhelmingly hailed from Asia at 71,360.


The wrap

Population growth is temporarily set to slow in Australia through 2015, perhaps to around a 300,000 per annum pace.

However, strong population will no doubt rebound in due course, with both permanent migrants and visitors from China, India and elsewhere across Asia set to be a major driver of future trends.