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AFP
January 18, 2020

Australia to lose billions as bushfires deter tourists

World

AFP
January 18, 2020

SYDNEY: Australia will lose billions of dollars in tourism revenue as international visitors cancel trips in droves due to bushfires raging across the country, an industry body forecast Friday.

The number of travellers booking visits to Australia has fallen 10-20 percent since the fires began in September and the slump will cost the economy an estimated AUS$4.5 billion ($3 billion) this year, the Australian

Tourism Export Council (ATEC) said. "International visitors are cancelling because of fears around air quality, safety and the impact fires have had on our tourism offering as well as a lack of certainty on how long it will take for us to recover," ATEC Managing Director Peter Shelley said.

Global media have given extensive coverage to the wildfires, which have killed at least 28 people, burned an area larger than Portugal and blanketed the key tourist cities of Sydney and Melbourne in toxic smoke.