Cairns has suffered a massive tourism blow, with coronavirus travel limitations decreasing visitor numbers by over 60 per cent.
Cairns has suffered a massive tourism blow, with coronavirus travel limitations decreasing visitor numbers by over 60 per cent.

How much viral threat is costing tourist hot spot

CAIRNS has taken a $10 million dollar hit after 25,000 direct cancellations because of the coronavirus outbreak, latest figures show.

The Queensland Premier and Tourism Minister have been invited to crisis talks in Cairns next Friday on the ongoing impact of the travel ban from China.

New findings out today of a survey of the region's $3.5 billion industry shows visitors are almost 70 per cent down.

"There have been more than $10 million in direct bookings in the Cairns and Great Barrier Reef region cancelled to date as a result of the coronavirus,'' Tourism Tropical North Queensland chief Mark Olsen said.

"Members have seen more than 25,000 direct cancellations of experiences and accommodation.

"At this time of the year Chinese visitors contribute more than $25 million a month to the economy.

"We do not know the impact from the perception of the Australian bushfires on international travel, but we are seeing a reduction in visitors of between 60 and 70 per cent in January and the forecast is the same for February."

Restaurant tables on the Cairns waterfront sit empty as tourist numbers fall and tourism related businesses suffer a loss of income. Picture: Brendan Radke
Restaurant tables on the Cairns waterfront sit empty as tourist numbers fall and tourism related businesses suffer a loss of income. Picture: Brendan Radke

Operators expect more pain as airlines stop flights from China after the Australian Government's decision for a travel ban on Chinese nationals to prevent the spread of the deadly virus.

"Hainan Airlines announced their flights between Cairns and China would cease on the weekend.

"TTNQ and Cairns Airport have been working with Hainan and we understand that their 100 plus passengers have found other ways to leave the destination."

Nine out of 10 tourism businesses are feeling "incredible financial strain", he said.

Tourism Australia's campaign to holiday at home, and travellers in North America and New Zealand, can help fill the shortfall.

"It's a beautiful time to be in the region, the sky has opened, the waterfalls are flowing and we have clean air.

"Many Australians have missed out on their summer holiday and we invite them here to Cairns and Great Barrier Reef to enjoy it."


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