Overseas arrivals to Australia collapsed in April after the country imposed travel restrictions to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
There were just 7,000 overseas visitors in April, down 99 per cent from a year ago, preliminary data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows.
Of the total 22,000 arrivals in April, more than two thirds were Australian citizens returning from overseas while around 7,000 were non-Australian citizens.
Australia first barred entry for foreign nationals travelling from mainland China on February 1 in a bid to stem the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
The incoming travel ban was gradually extended to several countries that became virus hotspots before borders were shut to all non-residents from March 21.
April’s slide comes on top of the 60 per cent slump in overseas arrivals in March, when just 331,900 short-term visitors arrived in Australia.
Of the arrivals in April, most visitors were from New Zealand – Australia’s largest source country – followed by India, the United Kingdom and Philippines.
Australia’s tourism industry, already hit because of the bushfires during key summer months, is likely to cop heavy economic damage from the coronavirus lockdown, with some analysts estimating it is costing the sector as much as $2 billion a month.