Tourist and holidaymakers enjoying a sunny day in Sydney

Australia’s international arrivals are gathering pace helped by a significant lift in Chinese traveller numbers.

In April 2023, a total of 3,090,000 passengers passed through Sydney Airport, representing an 83.9% recovery compared to pre-pandemic April 2019.

Sydney’s international airport saw 1,127,000 passengers pass through the terminal in April, which is more than double the number seen in April 2022 and 80.6% recovered on April 2019 figures.

Chinese passport holders ranked third in the list of top 10 nationalities to fly through Sydney in April, moving up from the 39.6% recovery rate (fifth place) in March 2023. This represents a 53.8% recovery on April 2019.

“At the end of this month Sydney Airport will have seven mainland Chinese passenger carriers offering 30 return services per week, with even more flights to be added soon,” said Sydney Airport CEO, Geoff Culbert.

“That’s remarkable considering we started the year with just three airlines flying four return services to mainland China a week.”

Tourism Australia predicts Chinese travellers will once again take the title of Australia’s largest inbound market by 2025.

“We are anticipating that [airline capacity] is going to jump to 50% in the next couple of months,” said Tourism Australia Managing Director, Philippa Harrison.

“We think that in 2024 [the Chinese market] will normalise and by late 2025 it will be booming and return as the largest inbound market, followed by New Zealand and then US and UK markets. The US market is also growing quite fast.”