City tourism leaders have warned the city’s tourism industry would also take a hit from the “double-whammy” of the bushfire disaster and Coronavirus outbreak.

Destination Gold Coast chief executive Annaliese Battista said both events occurring at the peak of the city’s summer tourism period meant things were “pretty grim” because of the likely impact on visitation from overseas markets.

“We have had a double whammy for the international market with the bushfires and the Chinese government formally saying outbound tourists are not allowed to travel from China until further notice.

“This is going to have an impact on the Gold Coast because China is our biggest overseas market so we will be looking at forms of mitigation.

‘The first priority will be to ensure the safety of both locals and tourists.

“We will see an immediate impact obviously given Chinese New Year is a time when millions of people from China traditionally travel.”

More than 273,000 Chinese tourists came to the Gold Coast in the past financial year.

One of the Southern Gold Coast's busiest tourist facilities welcomes thousands of international guests every year. General Manager of Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary Michael Kelly said that the Sanctuary has already seen cancelations of almost 200 groups from the China region predominantly. "We are reacting to the virus as necessary and altering our business operations accordingly" Mr Kelly said.   

Ms Battista said strategies were being discussed on how to keep the tourism market booming and this includes tapping into the lucrative Kiwi market.

“In the next financial year we will really need to look the hole this has created in the market,” she said.

“We will look at focusing on the core domestic market and spreading our activities to unaffected markets such as New Zealand, ones which are already familiar with the Gold Coast.

“We can make it clear we are unaffected by the fires and that nobody is infected with Coronavirus here.”

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