Tasmania's peak tourism body has called for long-term support of operators whose businesses have been impacted by the coronavirus outbreak from all levels and government and industry.
Earlier this month, Chinese visitors were barred from entering Australia following the outbreak of the deadly virus in Wuhan, China in late 2019.
Tourism Industry Council of Tasmania chief executive Luke Martin said, while Chinese visitors made up just three per cent of tourism to the state, many operators were nearly entirely dependent on the Chinese market.
"Businesses that have been severely impacted include tour operators that cater to Chinese visitors and retailers, especially those in regional areas, who depend on the tour operators for business," Mr Martin said.
"In some cases, their businesses have virtually fallen off a cliff and they need support to ride this out.
In other news:
"There's only so long any business can sustain losses like this without having to lay off staff and even consider the future viability of their business."
Mr Martin said he supported a call by the Australian Tourism Industry Council for the Federal government to provide immediate emergency funding to tourism operators impacted by the outbreak.
"For these operators, the impact is similar to the impact last year's bushfires had on business in the south of the state," he said.
Premier and Tourism Minister Peter Gutwein said the Tasmanian government was closely monitoring the current impacts on the Tasmanian tourism industry associated with the coronavirus.
"As we have publicly said, we encourage anyone who operates a Tasmanian business and would like any advice to contact a member of the Business Tasmania team on 1800 440 026," Mr Gutwein said.
"While we continue to promote Tasmania as a premier destination, we are also actively working on a plan to ensure we are ready to encourage our Chinese visitors back to our state once travel restrictions ease, including working with Tourism Australia to maintain close ties and communications with our Chinese travel trade partners."