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Fears some small businesses could 'disappear' if coronavirus ban on Chinese tourists drags on

Small businesses that service the tourism industry around the country are being hit hard in the pocket as the ban on Chinese nationals travelling here continues amid the coronavirus outbreak.

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Tourism Aotearoa’s Chris Roberts says it’s going to be a tough year for the sector. Source: Breakfast

It's estimated the tourism industry is losing around $50 million dollars every week as a result of the ban.

The Government announced an $11 million boost to the tourism industry yesterday, to ease the strain, but Chris Roberts of Tourism Industry Aotearoa told TVNZ1's Breakfast some of the smaller businesses which target the Chinese market specifically are already feeling the effects. 

"There are some businesses already who are essentially closed down," said Mr Roberts.

"If you're a specialist business serving the Chinese market you have no customers. So right now your business is not operating. A lot of small, family-owned businesses often, are not operating right now."

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He said while the big businesses are taking hits, they can diversify into other markets and will survive. But it's not the same for smaller companies.

"The small businesses could well disappear if this ban goes on for a period of time," said Mr Roberts.

At this time of year anywhere up to 20,000 visitors could be travelling into and around New Zealand, if it weren't for the travel ban. 

"We’ve just come out of the Chinese New Year period where we would have had the additional boost but going forward February/March around 10,000 visitors a week who are obviously not coming," said Mr Roberts. 

"In spend terms that’s about 50 million dollars a week not being spent in the New Zealand economy."