Australia’s two leading accommodation advocacy bodies have said they are working closely with the Federal government and will act on advice regarding the potential impact on the sector from the developing Coronavirus outbreak.
With the country’s Hubei province already locked down in an effort to contain the spread of the virus, Chinese authorities this week announced a nationwide ban on organised group travel, which accounts for around a quarter of Australia’s 1.4 million visitor arrivals from China. The ban could be in place for at least two months, with March 31 currently set as an end-date, tour organisers have said.
Tourism Accommodation Australia CEO, Michael Johnson, said the ban is another weight on the shoulders of an industry struggling to deal with the impact of regional bushfires and air quality concerns in Sydney and other cities.
“Although Australia derives tourists from a range of locations including the UK, Japan, New Zealand and the US there’s no doubt any temporary drop in Chinese tourists would have a large impact – especially during the time of the Chinese Lunar New Year.
“TAA will continue to work side-by-side with the NSW and Federal Governments on tourism recovery programs including “Holiday Here This Year” which we hope will help off-set this additional set-back.”
Accommodation Association of Australia CEO, Dean Long, said the country needed to continue sending the message it was open for business to all markets internationally.
“At this stage we are keeping a watching brief and taking advice from the World Health Organisation, which is stating that it ‘is not a global health emergency’ and the Australian Government which has activated controls at the borders and protocols with our Chief Medical Officer stating that ‘we are well prepared’”.