The Australian reported that tourist visa applications from China have dropped by up to 80% during the past three months.
The newspaper said this was due to concerns over A/H1N1 flu and the global recession. This is probably true.
The Chinese embassy in Sydney, for example, treats all applicants with grave courtesy and is an exemplar of how a visa office should be run. Yet, in June, the number fell by 21% year-on-year.
Incoming tourist applications from China — Australia’s fastest-growing tourism market — have collapsed by up to 80% over the past three months, putting in doubt a forecast jump in numbers from the country of 6.4% this year, the report said.
Last year, 356,000 Chinese visited Australia, spending a total of A$2.2 billion ($1.8 billion).
By May, as Australia became one of the first countries in the world to be hard hit by the fast-spreading virus, 30 to 50% of bookings at agents in Beijing and Shanghai had been canceled.
China Daily reports that in 2008, the top five origins for visitors to Australia were New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Japan, the United States and China.