Updated on June 27, 2022 by Axel Hernborg

Axel Hernborg

Sydney is the largest and also most popular city in Australia, visited by millions of tourists each year.

What sets Sydney apart from other cities is the beautiful and world-famous Harbour, the unique landmarks such as the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House, a great climate, and a stunning coastline with countless beaches.

Sydney and NSW are firmly established as global tourist destinations and Tourism is one of the state’s most important industries. Known for its luxury and high-end buildings and hotels, it is the 12th most expensive city in the world. 

Here are some of the city’s key tourism trends and statistics


  • In 2019, Sydney was the most visited destination in Australia for both international and domestic travelers with a total of 16.1 million visitors.
  • The total domestic and international spending for the year ending March 2019 was $21.9 billion.
  • There were 39.3 million domestic and international visitors to Sydney for the year ending March 2019.
  • Domestic and international visitors spent 113.3 million nights in Sydney.
  • In the year ending March 2019, there was a total of 11.4 million domestic overnight visitors to Sydney.
  • For 2020/21, there were 73,416 international visitors nights in the City of Sydney, accounting for 0.6% of the total visitor nights.
  • In the 5 years up to 2020/21, there were an average of 1,833,741 international visitors to the City of Sydney.
  • The average length of stay for international visitors was 10 days, lower than the average for New South Wales.
  • In the 5 years up to 2019/20, International visitors to the City of Sydney were more likely to be visiting on Holiday, accounting for 64.2% of all visitors.
  • The total number of nights spent in Sydney by domestic overnight tourists was 31 million, and the average length of stay in the region was 2.7 nights.
  • In the year ending March 2019, there was a total of 23.8 million domestic daytime visitors to Sydney.
  • 39% of domestic overnight visitors came from regional New South Wales. 22% visited from Victoria and 15% came from Queensland.
  • The top five international source markets to Sydney in the year ending March 2019 were as follows, 18% from China, 12% from the United States, 9% from New Zealand, 7.8% from the United Kingdom, and 5% from Korea.
  • The Sydney Royal Easter Show is home to Australia’s largest carnival providing hours of fun for everyone.


  • In 2019, 23% of domestic overnight visitors were aged 15-29 years old, 18.5% were 40-49 years old and 17.5% were 50-59 years old.
  • 30% of international visitors to Sydney were aged between 15-29 years of age. 18.6% were aged between 30-39 years and 16.8% were aged from 50-59 years of age.


  • International visitors spent an average of $123 per night on trips to Sydney.
  • This equates to an average trip spend of $2499 per visitor.
  • International tourists stay in Sydney for an average of 20 nights, the 3rd highest in all of Australia.
  • The total nights spent in Sydney by international travelers was 82.3 million nights which is up 3.1% on the previous year.
  • 31.5% of international tourists came to Sydney to receive an education, 28% came for holidays and 27% came to visit friends and relatives 27%.
  • 34% of domestic overnight visitors came for the purpose of business. 33% came to visit family and friends and 26% came for holidays.
  • The total spending of domestic day trip visitors in Sydney was $2.7 billion, and the average spending per visitor was $114.
  • The total spend of domestic overnight visitors in Sydney was $9.1 billion and the average spend per night was $293.
  • 43% of day-trip visitors to Sydney came for the purpose of holidays, 31% of visitors came to visit friends and relatives and 13% came for business purposes.


  • Sydney is the first stop on most Australian travel itineraries thanks to the great number of attractions and the largest airport in the country.
  • Sydney is the most prominent arrival gateway for Chinese tourists to Australia.
  • NSW is increasingly popular with tourists from the nearby Asia Pacific, given the rising middle class in this region and more affordable airfares.
  • February has been the most popular month for arrivals from China in the last couple of years.
  • Over 33 million travelers visited NSW in the year ending June 2020.
  • The Opera House is synonymous with Sydney as a city. The uniqueness of the design of the Opera House has seen the building declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • More than 10.9 million people visit each year the Sydney Opera House, nearby the Sydney Harbour Bridge. While specific numbers for the Sydney Harbour Bridge aren’t available, the bridge is consistently cited by tourists as one of the top reasons to visit Sydney.
  • More than 150,000 vehicles cross the Sydney Harbour Bridge each day.
  • The number of camping trips throughout New South Wales has grown by 14.5% over the 10-year period from 2008 to 2018.
  • In 2018 over 2.2 million overnight camping trips were made in New South Wales.
  • Camping trips – including caravan, campervan, commercial and non-commercial camping – made up 15% of visitor nights for domestic travelers to New South Wales in 2019 (year ending September)
  • As of September 2021, 17 percent of hotels in Sydney, Australia, were luxury hotels. The upscale and upper-upscale category was the most commonly available type of hotel in the city at 45 percent, whereas the midscale and upper-midscale categories accounted for 22 percent of total hotels.
  • Since early 2021, hotels in Sydney started to show signs of recovery.
  • The Australian tourism industry is expected to rebound strongly within the next few years, reporting over 53.6 million U.S. dollars in international tourism expenditure by 2025.
  • In the Sydney cruise industry, it just resumed operations this year April 2022.
  • The first cruise ship to arrive in Sydney since the industry was banned in March 2020.
  • The Australian cruise industry has shown an 11.2% increase in its total value to the national economy, contributing $5.2 billion in direct and indirect output during the 2018-19 financial year.
  • 1,240 cruise ship visits led to 3.8 million passenger and crew visit days, resulting in direct expenditure by passengers, crew, and cruise lines totaling $2.5 billion.
  • At the start or end of a cruise, international visitors spent the most per day on shore, averaging $569 each, compared to domestic travellers who spent $436 per day.
  • The food and beverage sector accounted for almost $274 million or 20.3% of passenger spend, followed by transport ($196 million, 14.5%), retail ($159 million, 11.7%), shore excursions ($133 million, 9.8%) and entertainment ($59 million, 4.4%).