All inbound arrivals from China are being denied access except for citizens and approved family.

Temporary restrictions now in place denying access to Australia to all non-citizens, permanent residents and immediate family of such will have “a huge impact” on the inbound tourism industry, say Australia’s two major accommodation industry organisations.

Under the restrictions, which were imposed over the weekend to stop the spread of Novel Coronavirus, travellers from all nationalities other than Australia who have travelled from or transited through mainland China will be denied access to the country, with temporary visas cancelled in the interim.

Exemptions apply for Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate family, legal guardians along with limited allowances also for airline and maritime crew deemed to have taken precautionary measures. All others falling outside these classifications will be denied boarding or placed into temporary detention for a quarantine period.

Tourism Accommodation Australia CEO, Michael Johnson, repeated calls from last week where he urged the trade to remain resilient and added he would be seeking assistance for the sector to help it through what will become “a very tough year”.

“The updated position by the Federal Government has been based on expert advice but there’s no doubt the travel ban will have a substantial impact on our tourism sector for months to come.

“It is critical TAA and the wider accommodation sector continues to work closely with the Federal Tourism and Health Ministers and relay information directly to the industry as soon as it becomes available,” Johnson said.

L-R Dean Long, AAoA and Michael Johnson, TAA

Accommodation Association CEO, Dean Long, said both it and its members supported the temporary ban from the government on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer.

“While an unprecedented announcement, importantly this move reinforces that Australia is a safe destination with strong quarantine measures.

“We will continue to work with government on measures to enforce border security, enhance safety and maintain our global reputation. These are essential in supporting visitor economy growth in the long term,” Long said.

Johnson added Australia had other important target markets which could help the industry recover from the setback, including the United Kingdom, USA, New Zealand and Japan.

In a late development today, Australia’s Chief Medical Officer, Professor Brendan Murphy, issued an updated letter – CLICK HERE – in which he expressed sympathy with the accommodation industry but that evidence was showing the virus was appearing to spread rapidly in mainland China.