The coronavirus outbreak means Australia will have 1.8 million fewer international visitors in the first six months of this year compared to last year, a group representing tourism and transport companies says.
The Tourism and Transport Forum estimates the number of foreign travellers visiting the country between January and June 2020 will be down 40 per cent on the same period in 2019.
TTF chief executive Margy Osmond said the peak industry body for the tourism, transport and aviation sectors had produced economic modelling to show the effects of COVID-19 if the virus was not able to be contained within the next three to six months.
The TTF suggested there would be an average monthly loss in total tourism receipts of $2 billion beyond March.
"What we are facing is a contracted visitor economy with significant losses across international visitation, tourism spend and employment in 2020 and beyond," Ms Osmond said in a statement.
"The economic impacts reflect the loss of direct tourism spend (tourism receipts) by the reduction in international visitor arrivals and the estimated reduction in employment within the visitor economy due to business slowing, (or) in some instances closure."