Despite the fact that international flights into Sydney are progressively increasing, passenger numbers remain significantly lower as compared to pre-pandemic levels.
In compared to February 2019, when Australian tourism was at its peak, foreign passenger numbers in February this year were down by an astounding 82 percent, according to the Australian Tourism Commission.
Airport CEO Geoff Culbert said that “a two-speed recovery” was forming between domestic and international customers at Sydney International Airport.
Domestic passenger numbers are almost back to pre-COVID levels and are “expanding quickly,” as opposed to international passenger numbers, which are increasing but remain below 20 percent of pre-COVID levels.
Despite the significant decline in foreign passenger numbers, which are critical to the rebuilding of Australia’s shattered tourist sector, there are signs of hope for the future.
Over the last year, the number of foreign travelers arriving at Sydney International Airport has increased by 700 percent, from 28,000 passengers in February 2021 to 230,000 passengers last month.
There were 1.3 million international passengers that passed through the terminal in February 2019.
It is clear from the statistics that the tourist sector will take a long time to recover, despite the fact that the majority of restrictions have been removed in Australia and many other nations across the globe.
Because of Australia’s decision to close its borders, the country’s tourist industry has suffered a monthly loss of almost $4 billion.
Mr Culbert said that multinational airlines are gradually increasing the number of flights they operate into Australia.
According to him, “By the end of this month, we will have 12 of the 21 foreign airlines that ceased flying to Sydney during the epidemic back operating normal flights.”
“Even the airlines that haven’t returned yet are still employing people and operating offices in the area, which gives us faith that they will return.”
Strong COVID-19 restrictions in New Zealand and China have prevented visitors from Australia’s two largest incoming markets from visiting the country, despite the fact that Australia’s borders have been open to foreign travelers for many months.
Immediately prior to the epidemic, tourists from China made up about a third of all visitors to Australia, and they were by far the most generous spenders, freely opening their wallets in towns and tourist hot sites around the country.
According to figures released to 9news.com.au by Australia’s leading tourism organisation, the Tourism and Transport Forum, 1.4 million Chinese visitors spent a record $12.2 billion in 2019, accounting for more than one quarter of the country’s total foreign tourism expenditure.
According to TFF data, the massive Chinese expenditure has plummeted 99.4 percent to only $76 million by 2021, a cliff-hanging decrease.
According to the Australian Trade and Investment Commission, tourism was Australia’s fifth most valued export prior to the outbreak of the epidemic.