Coronavirus will have impact on Queenstown tourism, says mayor [RNZ, 26/01/20]
The deadly coronavirus outbreak has come at the worst possible time for tourism operators in the middle of summer and the Chinese New Year, Queenstown’s mayor says.
Chinese tourists accounted for more than $220 million of spending in the Queenstown Lakes District in the year to October.
Tourism operators are already reporting cancellations as China suspends overseas and domestic group tours as the outbreak worsens.
The death toll from the outbreak has risen to 56, while 1400 people worldwide have been infected, and Chinese President Xi Jinping said the country was facing a “grave situation”.
Lakes Mayor Jim Boult said it was too early to know what effect the outbreak would have on tourism in the area but it would be significant.
“The timing couldn’t be worse because this is probably the biggest week of the industry with Chinese New Year. I guess it’s not a complete disaster because a number of them are already here but the issue will have a significant effect on the tourism industry,” he said.