China could issue more security alerts warning its citizens not to travel to Australia, the biggest tourism spenders for the latter, that could lead to zero Chinese visitors in 2020 even after the COVID-19 pandemic, if discriminatory rhetoric and safety issues for Chinese tourists are not addressed, Chinese industrial insiders warned on Saturday.
The comment comes after China's Ministry of Culture and Tourism issued an alert on Friday, warning tourists not to travel to Australia as the country has seen a significant rising trend of racial discrimination and violence against Chinese and Asians due to the COVID-19 pandemic recently.
"There will be impacts on the Australian tourism industry without a doubt, which will mainly affect individual travelers as group tours have not been officially opened yet as the pandemic has not eased in the country," Yang Jinsong, a senior researcher at the China Tourism Academy, told the Global Times.
Yang warned that the safety and security for Chinese travelers is deteriorating in Australia and if it remains this way, more alerts will be issued.
From 2009-19, the number of Chinese tourists to Australia increased by 297 percent, according to the China Tourism Academy.
However, this year the number is expected to be very dire, experts said.
"There was a sharp drop and almost no Chinese tourists coming to Australia in previous months, to which the pandemic was certainly the cause, but it was not the whole story," Yang said, noting that being unfriendly to China could change Chinese people's perception of Australia and make them feel less safe traveling there.
Chinese tourists make up the biggest contribution to the Australian economy.
China is now Australia's largest source of international visitors, with Chinese travelers helping create 0.6 percent of the country's annual GDP, the South China Morning Post reported in February.
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