Group tour travel ban to hit QLD tourism
CHINA'S ban on all international group travel tourism out of the country will be a cruel blow to Queensland's tourism.
Chinese visitors holidaying in the state spent about $800 million in Queensland last year alone.
But Beijing has cracked down and banned group tours out of China in a bid to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
While it applied from yesterday, there is no specific time frame from how long it will blast.
Federal Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham said Chinese officials confirmed that all international group tours out of China, including to Australia, had been suspended.
"We will work closely with our tourism industry partners to assess the impacts of this and how we may best recalibrate the promotion of Australia to minimise impact of these actions on our tourism businesses," he said.
There were about 849,000 Chinese visitors to Queensland in the year ending June 2019, according to Tourism and Events Queensland data.
Senator Birmingham said tour groups account for about a quarter of visitations.
"There is no impact on free and independent travellers who now make up three-quarters of all Chinese visitors to Australia," he said.
He said there were well established safeguards to deal with the threat of viruses.
"These have in the past minimised the impacts of other viruses on our tourism industry by giving people confidence in the safety of visiting Australia," Senator Birmingham said.
It is the latest blow for the tourism industry, already reeling from international reporting of the bushfires which tore through NSW, Victoria and SA.