Alex Dalland

Australians are venturing abroad to our neighbours more now than ever before, and our closest neighbours have started to take a greater interest in us too – according to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Ten years ago, the top three nationalities to visit Australia were New Zealand, the UK and Japan respectively. And while the ‘Kiwis’ are still the biggest group of short-term visitors, there has been an enormous growth in visitors coming from China, India and Malaysia, with all recording growth rates in excess of 130 per cent; travellers from India increasing by 217 per cent and Chinese by almost fourfold.

“Visitors from China were the second most popular source of travellers to Australia, with 1.2 million visitors,” Libby O’Toole from the ABS’ Migration Analysis and Reporting Team says.

“This was almost four times the number that came to Australia in 2005-06.”

Australians are also departing for countries closer to home. While countries like the USA and UK were favourite travel spots ten years ago, Indonesia has emerged as the second most popular destination after New Zealand for 2016 – with an incredible 416 per cent increase in travellers. Thailand, Japan and India have also more than doubled in popularity.

“Short-term resident departures to Indonesia have increased more than five times over the last 10 years. At 1.2 million trips, this was the second most frequently visited country,” Ms. O’Toole says.

“This is certainly due to the visa-free policy extended to Australians visiting Indonesia,” Arief Yahya, Indonesian Minister for Tourism says. In March this year Indonesia included Australia in its list of nationalities no longer requiring a visa to enter the country.

“Most of the Australian tourists prefer tourist sites in the coastal zone, with waves ideal for surfing.”

Australians aren’t staying away for too long though, with the median length of stay going from 15 days in 2006 to just 13.6 days.