Australia doesn’t need Chinese tourists to recover from Covid as others get the giggles

Australia’s crippled travel industry doesn’t need Chinese tourists to recover from the Covid pandemic, the country’s tourism minister has said.

Dan Tehan told the CAPA Center for Aviation conference in Sydney on Wednesday that things are already looking good for the aviation and tourism industry, despite the huge loss of Chinese visitors during the coronavirus crisis.

He said rising demand for travel from other parts of the world would see the tourism industry boom in the new year as international and state borders lift restrictions.

“Australia’s star had shone brightly for the rest of the world during the pandemic,” Tehan said.

“People want to come to Australia, and that’s the message I have very, very clear, whether it’s North America, Europe, [or] Asia.’

Australia’s decimated travel industry doesn’t need Chinese tourists to recover from Covid pandemic, country’s tourism minister has stated

Mr Tehan also said Australians are staying at home on holiday and spending more.

Only Singaporeans are allowed to enter Australia as tourists, but that will soon be expanded to other parts of the world, starting with Japan and South Korea.

“My hope is that Europe, North America and the Pacific will follow… and if we can continue to open safely, there’s no reason we can’t get those countries on board sooner or later,” he said.

Inland, the most sought after flights are to Queensland, with borders opening Monday to NSW and Victoria.

Mr Tehan desperately wants all domestic borders to open. “We obviously want Australia to be whole again, and we hope the Western Australian state border opens sooner rather than later,” he said.

“If we can make Australia whole again, it will boost further international tourism returning to this country.

“One of the things that is little known is that international tourists don’t come to visit one state, but want to travel to at least two, three or four states.”

Mr Tehan said: 'People want to come to Australia, and that's the message I have very, very clear, whether it's North America, Europe or Asia.'  Pictured: French tourists on Bondi Beach

Mr Tehan said: ‘People want to come to Australia, and that’s the message I have very, very clear, whether it’s North America, Europe or Asia.’ Pictured: French tourists on Bondi Beach

Before the pandemic, China was Australia’s largest source of international visitors, but the country is taking a zero-risk approach to ensure its people don’t go abroad and bring Covid with them ahead of the Beijing Winter Olympics, which start on February 4. .

The situation has been exacerbated by the bitter trade war between Canberra and Beijing, which shows no signs of abating.

As part of this, numerous politicians and Communist Party spokesmen threatened to discourage Chinese tourists and students from coming to Australia.

In the latest spat, Australia announced a diplomatic, but not sporting, boycott of the Winter Olympics.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said China’s “human rights abuses” in the far western province of Xinjiang, where it forcibly transported Muslim Uyghurs to cruel and deadly “re-education camps,” was one of the reasons for the boycott.

He also highlighted Beijing’s spate of trade strikes against Australia and refusal to return calls from Australian ministers.

Before the pandemic, China was Australia's largest source of international visitors, now tourism has ground to a halt.  Pictured: Scott Morrison (left), Xi Jinping (right)

Before the pandemic, China was Australia’s largest source of international visitors, now tourism has ground to a halt. Pictured: Scott Morrison (left), Xi Jinping (right)

“We are very pleased and very happy to be talking to the Chinese government about these issues,” said Mr Morrison.

“But the Chinese government has consistently failed to accept those opportunities to meet on these issues.

“It is therefore not surprising that Australian government officials do not go to China for those games.”

Liberal MP Ted O’Brien, who lived and worked in Taiwan and China for ten years, said the diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics “is in line with our values.”

“I don’t think there was any other choice,” he said. “It’s a strong, if highly targeted, message to Communist China, and any overreaction on their part will send an equally powerful message that they just don’t understand.”

Protesters hold up signs and banners as they attend a demonstration in Sydney calling on the Australian government to boycott the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing over China's human rights record

Protesters hold up signs and banners as they attend a demonstration in Sydney calling on the Australian government to boycott the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing over China’s human rights record

Tourism Minister Dan Tehan says Chinese tourism to Australia is unlikely to recover in the short term, but there is a lot of interest from other countries

Tourism Minister Dan Tehan says Chinese tourism to Australia is unlikely to recover in the short term, but there is a lot of interest from other countries

Mr O’Brien said China had changed since hosting the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing: “It’s not about China’s rise, it’s about China’s behavior.”

“We cannot close our eyes to the reports coming out of China about the treatment of the Uyghur people in Xinjiang,” he said.

Australia’s best-known Winter Olympian, gold medalist Steven Bradbury, criticized China’s use of Uyghurs as ‘human slaves’ and warned ‘if we don’t stand up to China, they will take over the world’.

“You can’t take away an athlete’s dreams,” he said the Australian.

“But if China isn’t going to act so that we can all live together on planet Earth and if China continues to impose tariffs on our products and try to hinder us, then we have to act.

“It has become abundantly clear that China’s mission is to take over the world, and more and more people are beginning to understand that.”

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