Tourism Companies Remain Unfazed by New Testing Demands for Chinese Tourists

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Local tourism operators believe the current requirement of mandatory COVID-19 testing for Chinese travellers entering Australia will likely have minimal effect on their market in the immediate future.

Effective this January 2023, any passengers travelling from China to Australia will be mandated to acquire a negative pre-departure COVID-19 test result – an action the Australian government has implemented in light of increasing infection cases in China.

According to survey results collected in late 2022, visitor numbers from China to Australia had plummeted by 95% since before the pandemic began.

Shaun de Bruyn, Deputy Chair of the Australian Tourism Industry Council, expressed before COVID-19 that Chinese visitors were essential to the tourism sector. Unfortunately, visitation numbers have yet to rebound since then.

He expressed that any return of Chinese travellers, even with testing restrictions, was encouraging.

“Ultimately, the Australian health authorities are safeguarding our well-being,” he said.

“Even though Chinese visitation was nonexistent during COVID, there is still growth, demonstrating a positive outlook. Although it may not be as fast-paced of an increase in visitors as previously anticipated due to restrictions, we can see steady progress being made,” he added.

Local tourism operators remain optimistic that the testing will ultimately benefit their sector. Shaun de Bruyn said: “We are confident that this measure taken by the government will encourage more people to visit Australia. We hope it can become a platform for further negotiations with other countries and open the door for more Chinese travellers to come.”

Overall, the new testing demands have a limited impact on tourism operators in Australia. Though there may be some financial losses due to additional testing costs, investors and travellers will likely begin to return in more significant numbers as the current situation stabilises. 

Shaun de Bruyn concludes: “The tightening of restrictions is in the best interest of everyone, and it’s only a matter of time before tourism numbers start to pick up again.”

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