Virus may see more holidaying at home

Augusta Margaret River Times
The global crackdown on coronavirus could give the region’s home tourism a boost.
Camera IconThe global crackdown on coronavirus could give the region’s home tourism a boost. Credit: Jenny Evans/Getty Images

The looming threat to Australian tourism from the Chinese coronavirus outbreak could have an unintended benefit for the Capes region.

Registered Accommodation Providers Margaret River Region spokeswoman Debbie Noonan said international chaos and disasters often saw more Australians holiday at home.

“It’s probably a little early to see what the fallout from the virus will have on tourism as a whole as international guests often book many months in advance,” she said.

“Having said that, we had guests this morning who reside in China extending their stay in Perth by a week to avoid going back to China where they live.”

National tourism authorities are encouraging Australians to holiday at home and support bushfire-affected regions.

Margaret River-Busselton Tourism Association co-chief executive Steve Harrison said Chinese travellers were a small portion of the region’s visitors, with 13 per cent of Chinese tourists in WA nominating Margaret River as the best destination.

“The MRBTA’s attractions have received a small number of cancellations from Chinese visitors,” he said.

“At this stage, we have not received feedback from our members on any cancellations, but some businesses will feel the impact more than others if they have strong traction in this market.”

The Chinese Government announced restrictions on tour groups last week, but Mr Harrison said 98 per cent of China’s tourists travelled independently.

“Elsewhere in Australia, only 66 per cent of Chinese travellers are (independent), so the impact on other States will be greater than on WA,” he said.

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