Worsening relations with China could hurt the recovery of Australia's tourism industry, a researcher of Edith Cowan University in Perth has warned.
Chinese travellers are unlikely to return to Australia in the same numbers as before the COVID-19 pandemic unless diplomatic relations between the two countries improve, Sam Huang said in an interview with Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) earlier this week.
"The current situation of the Australia-China relationship, I would say that would be a big barrier for our future tourism recovery," said Huang, a research professor in tourism and services marketing in the School of Business and Law of Edith Cowan University.
China was Australia's largest inbound tourist market for both arrivals and spending in 2019, according to Tourism Australia, a government agency.
There were 758,551 holiday arrivals from China in the year to December 2019, out of 1.4 million total short-term visitor arrivals, ABC reported.