Concerns tourism industry not ready as Chinese group tours allowed to return to Australia

Chinese group tours are set to return to Australia but local tourism operators warn they

Chinese group tours are set to return to Australia but local tourism operators warn they may not have capacity to accommodate them. 

China’s culture and tourism ministry on Thursday lifted a pandemic-era ban on outbound group tours to dozens of countries including Australia, the United States, South Korea and Japan.

Christine Zhang, chief executive of Melbourne-based Odyssey Travel, was “very happy about the news” but said the travel agency had limited capacity and had changed strategy. 

“Due to the pandemic, we sold lots of tourist vehicles and lost many staff … it’s unlikely that people will come back as they have started in new industries,” Ms Zhang said.

“It’s going to be a very slow recovery process.”

Ms Zhang said the agency was focusing more on serving the the domestic market, which she described as “safer and more stable”.

“We mainly do tour groups for Australian Chinese communities for both local and international travel now,” she said.

Her agency now only had capacity for a small number of business or government groups from China, she added.