Update for industry on coronavirus (COVID-19)

Message from the CEO of Tourism Tasmania on new travel restrictions

Following the Australian Government’s announcement of enhanced restrictions on travellers out of China due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), I want to provide you with an update on how we are working across government and with our industry partners to respond.

Our thoughts are with the people of China as they deal with this evolving health emergency.   Tourism Tasmania has its own in-market team working out of China and a priority for us has been to provide as much support and assistance to them as possible.

Tourism operators in Tasmania, and indeed visitors, may have questions about the recent announcement and what this means for Tasmania’s tourism industry and broader visitor economy.

While there will be an impact, we do have a plan to respond.

John Fitzgerald, CEO

Tourism Tasmania

Important advice

Australia’s Chief Medical Officer has issued specific advice for hotel staff and guests relating to the management of the coronavirus. It has issued a factsheet for hotel management and staff and for hotel guests at Hotels and Hotel Staff and Hotel Guests.

These factsheets were updated on 14 February 2020 and include information about preventive action staff and guests should take and the restrictions that now apply to anyone who has been in China on or after 1 February 2020.

Check the latest information from the relevant authorities, if you have questions or are concerned about the coronavirus.

Tourism Australia’s consumer website includes information on coronavirus and links to relevant websites where travellers can access the latest health and travel advice.

There is also useful information on the Australian Government Department of Health website including a factsheet for travellers in both English and simplified Chinese.

For operators looking for information on how the situation is being monitored in Tasmania, please visit the Tasmanian Department of Health website and download the factsheet.

FAQs

Where can you find the facts about the latest announcement?

Following advice from chief health officers, the Australian Government announced that as of 1 February 2020 all travellers arriving from any part of mainland China, regardless of nationality, will be subject to enhanced border control measures to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of the Australian community.

This advice was reviewed on 13 February and extended for seven days, it will be reviewed weekly as public health authorities continue to monitor the situation.

The Department of Home Affairs has more information on the new travel restrictions here.

It is important that you seek up-do-date information from the relevant authorities.

What does this mean for Tasmania’s tourism industry and how is Tasmania responding?

We know that a number of Chinese visitors travel to Tasmania over the three months to March, including during Chinese new year. But it’s also important to keep in in mind that Chinese visitors make up only 3 per cent of total visitors to Tasmania overall. This means Tasmania will experience less of a market shock than its mainland counterparts. That said, some tourism operators will feel the impact more than others due to their visitor mix.

How is Tourism Tasmania responding?

Tourism Tasmania is working on an immediate plan to be ready to encourage our Chinese visitors back to our state once travel restrictions ease, including working with Tourism Australia to maintain close ties and communications with our Chinese travel trade partners.

We have, and will continue to have, a strong program of international and domestic activity planned including:

  • In market activity across Australia’s eastern seaboard with our Come Down for Air campaign including advertising across social media and online, in cinemas and out of home and television advertising.
  • Working with Tourism Australia to ensure Tasmania is featured in their domestic and international marketing activity including the Holiday Here This Year campaign, media hosting, PR and conversion activity.
  • Tourism Tasmania has been working to encourage travel to Tasmania over the low and shoulder seasons for several years. We know that this will be more important than ever and are currently working on a program of activity to celebrate what Tasmania can offer over the cooler seasons.
  • Ongoing and affordable air and sea access to Tasmania is vital to ensuring we attract visitors to the state. We are continuing to work with our access partners to ensure both visitors and Tasmanians have good travel options now and into the future. Including in-market activities with all airlines as well as Spirit of Tasmania, with conversion activities spread through February to June and a strong conversion focused program with online and retail travel trade partners between February and June to drive bookings into the autumn and winter months.
  • Working with our team in China to not only ensure they know our thoughts are with them at this difficult time, but to also maintain communication with our key distribution partners in China so we can welcome Chinese visitors back when travel restrictions are lifted.
  • We’ve also had marketing activity in other key international markets including in Germany and activity to promote wine tourism in the US.
  • All our activity will be supported by social media, PR, famils and trade.

What support is available for Tasmanian tourism operators directly impacted by cancellations both now and in forward bookings?

If your business has been impacted by the recent announcement, you are encouraged to contact Business Tasmania on 1800 440 026 to discuss your situation and register your impact.

What advice is the Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC) giving around cancellation guidelines?

ATEC is providing its members with regular updates, which includes cancellation guidelines and its latest update was today. ATEC has included some commentary around special consideration for the China market to maintain faith and trust, while not seeking to dictate the commercial decisions of suppliers. For more information, you can email atec@atec.net.au.

What advice has been provided by the Australian Department of Health for hotel staff and guests to best manage the Novel coronavirus?

Australia’s Chief Medical Officer has issued specific advice for hotel staff and guests relating to the management of the coronavirus. It has issued a factsheet for hotel management and staff and for hotel guests at Hotels and Hotel Staff and Hotel Guests. These factsheets were updated on 14 February 2020 and include information about preventive action staff and guests should take.

What does the coronavirus mean for cruise ship visits in Tasmania?

Internationally, cruise ships departing from China have been suspended.  Most of the cruise fleet that visits Tasmania is based in Australia for the season and operates around Australia, the Pacific Islands and New Zealand.

All cruise line companies have been issued with specific advice from the Australian Department of Health on how to manage any passengers who display symptoms of the virus or require treatment. The cruise industry is one of the most well-equipped and experienced when it comes to managing and monitoring health conditions of passengers and crew.

When will we receive another update?

Tourism Tasmania is working closely with Tourism Australia, the Department of State Growth, Tasmanian Department of Health, as well as the Tourism Industry Council, Tasmanian Hospitality Association and the four regional tourism organisations. We will be meeting regularly and will provide updates to you when there are notable developments.

Information current as at 18 February 2020

Click here for previous updates from Tourism Tasmania via the Tourism Talk newsletter.