In September 2020, DataSpark studied the movement of residents from the five “border bubble” New South Wales local government areas (LGAs) of Byron, Ballina, Lismore, Richmond Valley and Glen Innes Severn into Queensland as a result of border closures. As the borders to these five LGAs reopened on the 1st of October and with COVID-19 numbers alleviating in New South Wales towards the end of 2020, DataSpark naturally decided to conduct a follow up study to determine how the numbers of unique weekly visitors from these five LGAs have changed.
After performing an analysis using DataSpark's proprietary API, we discovered that when the hard border closure occurred on the 8th of August the number of unique weekly visitors to Queensland from these five LGAs dropped to 870 unique visitors per week and remained relatively flat in the months of August and September as travel was limited to those with a border pass. This persisted until the borders to these five LGAs reopened on the 1st of October, where a large influx of travellers into Queensland was observed and the number of unique weekly visitors returned to numbers not seen since mid-July.
Although the border has been open for over two months, data reveals that the number of unique weekly travellers to Queensland from these five LGAs have not yet returned to their previous 2020 highs observed in January and February this year.
So how does the 2020 data compare to 2019 before COVID-19 had impacted travel to Queensland? We took a deeper look and ran a year-over-year comparison
As expected, the number of unique weekly visitors from these five LGAs in 2020 was lower overall. When comparing the same period of January to end of November 2020 to data from 2019, it was discovered that the average number of unique weekly visitors from these five LGAs was 6.7k in 2020 versus 12.9k in 2019.
We also discovered that the number of unique weekly visitors from these five LGAs began to decrease before the border closure dates, which indicates travellers stopped travelling in the days leading up to the border closure date.
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