In light of the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus, many Chinese are cancelling or delaying their travel plans to many countries including Malaysia.
With the numbers of deaths and infections climbing, authorities posed travel restrictions. As today Saturday, it was reported that China coronavirus toll rose to 722 deaths and over 34,000 infections.
A tour operator in Asia said, “the only thing that is travelling right now is the virus itself.”
“It’s gonna be a tough few months for the tourism industry,” an independent tour guide in Malaysia told Al Jazeera.
This hurts tourism industry and economies across the region, as the Chinese make up the largest number of foreign tourists who used to travel to many parts of Asia, Europe and North America.
The flights and travel plans cancellations to Asia are mainly due to worries about the contagious virus which was originated in China.
The effects of the slowdown in tourism are most likely to be felt across many Asian countries which have long been popular holiday destinations for Chinese tourists.
Among those popular tourist destination countries were Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Cambodia, Japan, and Hong Kong.
Thailand, one of the top international destinations for Chinese tourists, stands to lose 109.3 billion Thai baht ($3.51bn) in tourism revenue due to the virus outbreak, RHB Investment Bank economist Billy Toh said in a report shared with Al Jazeera.
Indonesia’s tourism minister warned on Thursday that the country stands to lose $4bn in industry-wide earnings if the coronavirus outbreak disrupts travel from China the whole year.
Meanwhile, economists at Oxford Economics estimate that the drop in outbound tourism from China could lead to a 50 percent decline in imported services in the first quarter of 2020, according to a report shared with Al Jazeera.
“Given that Asia-Pacific accounts for almost 80 percent of China’s outbound destination, economies in the region that are reliant on tourism and Chinese tourists – especially Thailand – are expected to see larger downward pressure on economic growth,” said economists Tommy Wu and Louis Kujis of Oxford Economics.