Tourism is on its knees. The peak summer-season calamities have devastated an industry that touches one in three Australians directly and indirectly.
Australian Chamber – Tourism Executive chair John Hart said: “The Federal Government responded with a record additional investment of $76 Million to help tourism deal with the challenges of recovery from the bushfires. We are very grateful for this investment, which is rolling out now.
“At the same time as this package was being announced we were hit with the impact of the Coronavirus. The resultant travel ban has seen the $711M per week Chinese market come to a dead stop. As our largest international market, this has been a savage blow to Australian tourism.
“The ban on passenger air travel also impacts on a range of other industries that depend on frequent air movements to shift goods including perishable products.
“The need to keep Australians safe from Coronavirus is absolutely paramount and we, as employers of over a million Australians, understand this priority.
“In terms of the Government extension of the ban on travel movements from Mainland China announced yesterday, the reduction of the time period to 7 days and the commitment to a daily review is appreciated.
“Tourism and trade would greatly benefit from even a partial lifting of the ban from provinces in China that present a much lower risk to Australians. Hub ports such as Beijing and Shanghai have tightly controlled Coronavirus and they account for around 33% of airline movements.
“We encourage the Government in their ban review, and as part of their health risk management approach, to consider the travel movements at a regional level rather than a blanket ban on all China mainland movement.
“Once the Coronavirus travel ban starts to lift, Australian Chamber – Tourism stands ready to work actively with Government, along with our members including the Australian Federation of Travel Agents, Tourism Accommodation Australia and Australian Tourism Export Council, to encourage our Chinese visitors, be they visiting friends and relatives or tourists to come and experience the Australia that they have been missing.”
Peter Shelley, CEO of ATEC said: “The impact cannot be understated and it will take a tremendous joint effort between Government and Industry to see recovery in this critically important market.”
Jayson Westbury, CEO of AFTA said: “We need to be in a position to return movements in and out of China as soon as possible. So many jobs and businesses depend on the important travel relationship with China and we look forward to it resuming as soon as the health assessment allows.”