Travel agents in China warn Beijing could follow up its travel warning with instructions to ban package tours to Australia once borders reopen.

Or the restrictions could be in less formal oral instructions to travel agents such as those issued last year about travel to Canada following the arrest there of a senior Huawei executive. Travel operators in China can be stripped of their licences if they disobey government directives.
Mr Wang said there had been no specific instructions about travel to Australia so far, but that was not surprising given tourists could not travel anywhere outside China due to the coronavirus outbreak. He said package tours accounted for about 60 per cent of trips by Chinese tourists to Australia.
“This is a very high-level warning. This will stop Chinese from going to Australia. For travellers without relatives in Australia they won’t go there, said another travel agent, Yao Pei, a product director for the Beijing Caissa International Travel Service.
However, other travel agents said Chinese tourists, especially independent travellers, would ignore the warnings and keep visiting Australia because it was a popular destination. Many Chinese visitors also have family connections in Australia or to students living there.
“I don’t think Chinese tourists would put too much attention on these government warnings. They will be aware of it but it is not the decisive factor,” said Wang Zheng, who runs the Australian market at the Shanghai-based Spring and Autumn Travel Agency.
“I’m more worried about the recovery of the tourism market. We have a lot of concerns about the recovery of tourism domestically in China and overseas.”
He said Chinese tourists would be more cautious about taking trips to any country, not just Australia, because of fears about a second outbreak of coronavirus.
The travel warning, issued by China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism late on Friday, followed restrictions placed on Australian beef and barley imports after Beijing became upset with the Morrison government’s call for an international coronavirus inquiry.
China has not issued a travel warning for any other countries because of racist attacks since the outbreak. However, on May 28 the Ministry of Tourism and Culture issued a notice about Chinese travellers it said were being singled out for excessive customs checks in the United States. This included checks of computers and mobile phones. On February 24, it also issued a travel warning for the United States due to “unfair treatment of Chinese tourists”.
Australian media have reported a number of attacks targeting Australians with Asian heritage since the outbreak.
China’s warning also followed the announcement of tighter foreign investment laws last week, although the travel warning is not believed to be linked to that move.
Asked to respond to the new national security protocols, China said on Monday both countries had agreed to non-discriminative investment environment.
“We hope that the Australian side will provide an open, fair and non-discriminative environment to all foreign enterprises, including Chinese enterprises, instead of the contrary,” China’s Foreign Ministry said in response to written questions from the Financial Review.
China’s ambassador to Australia Cheng Jingye told the Financial Review in April that the move could result in a Chinese consumer boycott of tourists and students visiting Australia.
Chinese tourists cannot currently visit Australia because its borders have been closed to visitors since the coronavirus outbreak. About 1.4 million Chinese tourists had been visiting Australia annually before the pandemic halted world travel.
There had been hopes that Australia’s relatively quick recovery from the outbreak would make it more attractive to Chinese visitors in the future than the United States or Italy.
China’s warning has alarmed the Australian tourism market, which relies heavily on Chinese visitors and has been working hard to build the country’s brand and cater for Mandarin-speaking visitors.