Australian hotels face ruin if coronavirus impact on tourism worsens, industry chiefs say.
Australian tourism bosses have warned that hotels could be forced out of business if the coronavirus outbreak continues to severely restrict visitor numbers.
According to the Guardian, hotels in Cairns and the Gold Coast -both destinations supported by large numbers of visitors from China, South Korea and Japan – are advertising rooms at half the normal tariff this week. Heavy discounts are also on offer In major cities, though city markets are better isolated from the loss of an estimated 150,000 Chinese tourists who would otherwise be in Australia.
Australia tourism is reeling from the “double whammy” of bushfires and the coronavirus, Business Insider reports.
On January 17, the Australian Tourism Export Council estimated that the bushfires will have a $4.5 billion AUD ($2.9 billion USD) impact on the country’s tourism industry over the course of 2020, Raini Hamdi reported for travel news site Skift.
Two days later, the Australian government announced a $76 million AUD ($50 million USD) tourism recovery package in response to bushfire-related cancellations.
Most recently, Australian tourism has taken a hit as a result of a preventative coronavirus travel ban in effect through February 29 that bars any non-Australians from traveling to the country from China.
“Australian tourism is facing its biggest challenge in living memory. One in thirteen Australian jobs rely on tourism and hospitality,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.
Central bank rate cuts won’t fix fear of catching the virus
stocks in Australia declined in morning trade, with the S&P/ASX 200 down about 0.9%. Investors await the release of Australia’s GDP for the fourth quarter, expected to be out around 8:30 a.m. HK/SIN on Wednesday.
“The economic problem is fear of catching the virus,” Joseph Capurso, senior currency strategist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia, wrote in a morning note.
Capurso said “fear hurts the economy” as people stop activities such as going to work, and shopping.
“Central bank rate cuts won’t fix fear of catching the virus. Economies around the world will be disrupted from fear. That is why we suggest monitoring high frequency economic indicators for a turning point. Financial markets are likely too optimistic about the global economic outlook,” he said.
How a coronavirus outbreak could affect your job
Already, workplaces are making plans for the possibility of a coronavirus outbreak in Australia, given the worst-case scenario would require people to work from home.
And, the Attorney-General outlined how Commonwealth laws could be used to halt the spread of coronavirus, with possible measures including forced quarantine.
But for many careers, working from home simply wouldn’t be an option, and for some of you, the thought of losing income as a result of the coronavirus crisis isn’t a comfortable one.
We asked our readers on Facebook Messenger to tell us what an outbreak could mean for their jobs. Here’s what you had to say.
Coronavirus is already having an impact at some workplaces.
Luke C works as a teacher for primarily Chinese international students:
“I have already lost a lot of work from the coronavirus outbreak, and will continue to lose more if it isn’t under control soon.”
Conor O is in a similar situation, working for a Chinese-Australian accounting firm with a lot of Chinese clients:
“Some of the businesses we operate with have partially closed so we’ve had to adapt where necessary. Luckily we’re able to work from home in the worst-case scenario.”
S Anderson told us that no preparations had been made at their workplace:
“They just said that our workers currently overseas wouldn’t be allowed back to work for two weeks, and we are all casual and they have been off for a month, so they are kinda up the creek without a paddle.”
Rolf J runs a home office and says financially, there has already been a noticeable impact:
“Higher risk, less travel. Less international tourism last month. I am hoping this month will improve due to the number of cruise ships coming to Adelaide.”
Ben O works in tourism and says if there are no bookings, he can’t work.
“So far, bookings have been down (way down) with a couple of days cancelled, but that has been the extent of it — so far. I am crossing my fingers and hoping that I will continue to have work through autumn and winter, but it’s difficult to know what the future holds. It’s certainly anxiety-inducing as I only get paid for the days I work.”
Jamie S owns three retail stores in Adelaide and says they are already being affected by coronavirus:
“Several of our key suppliers can’t access stock out of China, and our foot traffic is down. On average, sales were down by 25 per cent in February. I could work from home if isolated, but most of our team have selling responsibilities which means their jobs are in the shops and require public contacts.”
Tim O says he’s already had half of his employment as a casual tutor cut due to his university’s reliance on Chinese students:
“If coronavirus gets bad and the university shuts down or provides fewer tutorials, I could be left jobless. That would lead my income to be cut by a total of approximately $750 per week. It would be devastating for me.”
Australian Associated Press to shut down after 85 years
The national news agency Australian Associated Press said Tuesday it will close in late June, its 85 years in business vanquished by a decline in subscribers and free distribution of news content on digital platforms.
“The saddest day: AAP closes after 85 years of excellence in journalism. The AAP family will be sorely missed,” AAP Editor-in-Chief Tony Gillies said in a tweet.
Sydney-based AAP was started in 1935 by newspaper publisher Keith Murdoch, father of News Corp. founder Rupert Murdoch. It is owned by Australian news organizations News Corp. Australia, Nine Entertainment Co., Seven West Media and Australian Community Media.
The agency is renowned for its fair and impartial reporting and its extraordinary reach across rural and urban Australia. The surprise decision by its owners to close the agency comes amid a brutal consolidation in the industry and raised an outcry both from its staff and from many Australians who view it as a pillar of a free and fair press.
“When you have such an important institution such as AAP coming to an end, … that is a matter of real concern,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison told Parliament.
Anthony Albanese, the opposition leader, concurred, saying, “Today is a tragedy for our democracy.”
Australian media organizations face mounting financial pressure, with global digital giants Google and Facebook taking a growing chunk of advertising revenue. The company said it had reached the point where it was “no longer viable to continue.”
Edited by Staff