Published on : Friday, March 6, 2020
The Australian Tourism industry has taken double hit from the recent bushfires as well as the novel coronavirus outbreak. The number of International travellers decreased to a drastic level in light of both the dreadful events.
Phillipa Harrison, Managing Director, Tourism Australia said in a recent press brief in Canberra that the forward bookings in Australia came down to around 35% in the past few days. Tourism Australia also mentioned that Australia’s image as a brand was destroyed due to the bushfires which had an adverse effect on its tourism. However, the worst impact would come as a result of the deadly coronavirus which caused a global downturn for Australia’s tourism sector.
Majority of Australia’s tourists in a year come from China who is the largest contributor to Australia’s tourism industry. China contributed nearly $12 billion to Australia’s economy in the previous year. However, travel from China to Australia is banned at present. This has a major negative impact on the industry. Australia also has a travel ban on Iran. On Thursday, the Australian government extended the ban to South Korea.
According to a recent survey by the Australian Tourism Export Council or ATEC, inbound tour operators are facing a hard blow at present. If the unpleasant situation is not taken care of and the COVID-19 virus continues to spread further, the Australian tourism industry will see multiple job losses and business shutdowns.
Peter Shelley, Managing Director, ATEC shared in a press statement that the tourism sector in Australia is witnessing dramatic contractions in forward bookings in every market. The China market is completely down whereas other Asian countries that can carry on travel plans are anxious and fearful due to the situation. He further added that travel wholesalers based in China shut down their offices post the outbreak of the virus and inbound travel officers are yet to receive their payments for the services provided during Chinese New Year.
ATEC has also asked the Australian government to provide support to the tourism industry by arranging recovery packages, investing in the aviation sector and lending help in promoting destination marketing to recover the tourism industry in days to come.