Australia to lose 1.8 million international tourists over coronavirus

THE extent of the damage the coronavirus outbreak on the Australian tourism industry is getting clearer by the day, with new data revealing the outbreak will see 1.8 million less tourists visiting our shores.

Modelling undertaken by Tourism and Transport Forum indicates international visitation between January and June will be down 40 per cent compared to the same time last year.

It is estimated the monthly average hit to the tourism industry will be around $2 billion dollars.


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TTF CEO Margy Osmond said although the full extent of the economic impact won’t be known for some time, they wanted to know the implications should the virus fail to be contained within the next 3-6 month period.

“What we are facing is a contracted visitor economy with significant losses across international visitation, tourism spend and employment in 2020 and beyond. The economic impacts reflect the loss of direct tourism spend (tourism receipts) by the reduction in international visitor arrivals and the estimated reduction in employment within the visitor economy due to business slowing, in some instances, closure.

“When you look at SARS there were 29 countries affected over 9 months, our current situation is 29 countries over 8 weeks and counting. Not to mention 79,000 cases plus for coronavirus compared to 8,098 for SARS.

“Whilst the outbreak has not yet reached the classification of a pandemic the Treasurer has indicated that the economic impact will be greater than the bushfires and it will play-out more broadly across the Australian economy. What is unique about tourism is that we have been directly in the firing line for both crises.”

Tourism jobs will also take a massive hit, with a number of positions to be permanently for at least a 12-month period.

TTF estimates there will be staffing reductions of between 15% -20%, affecting between 99,000 – 133,200 jobs in mostly part-time, casual and and seasonal positions.

That equates to between $3.9 and $5.3 billion in lost salaries and wages into broader economy and between $1.12 and $1.59 billion on lost PAYG tax contributions.

“The figures are stark. Although we have a robust health system, this global health crisis comes at a time when Australian tourism is already on its knees. This is a point we are making crystal clear to Treasury in Canberra and others around the country when it comes to government support.

“As an industry we will continue to deal with the here and now and also plan for the medium to long-term.”

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