China ban impact on Oz
THE Chinese Government has banned tour groups travelling from the country in an effort to control the spread of coronavirus, with Bloomberg stating the ban is expected to last for at least two months.
The move is a blow to Australia’s tourism industry, which has suffered from months of devastation due to the fires, with Tourism Australia even pausing its big-budget UK-based advertising campaign (TD 06 Jan).
China has been Australia’s largest source market for the past two years, with 1.43 million visitors arriving from the country in 2018/19, a 303% increase on the 2008/09 season (TD 12 Nov).
China is also providng a steep increase in FIT travellers (TD 17 Jan), numbers which are expected to be greatly impacted.
MEAWHILE, The Australian Govt has also been drawing up plans to evacuate Aussies on the ground in China’s Hubei province, suspected ground zero for the outbreak, Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne said in a statement.
“The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is working closely with Chinese authorities and international partners to consider possible assistance with travel for Australians from areas that are affected,” she said.
“Our Embassy in Beijing and our Consulate in Shanghai are also working with international partners and the Chinese government to determine what support can be given.”
Hubei’s capital Wuhan is in lockdown, with all flights to and from the city suspended (TD Thu).
There is no Australian consulate in Wuhan, with the Minister urging those who have family in the affected area to contact the consular emergency line on 1300 555 135 in Australia or +61 2 6261 3305 from overseas.