The World Health Organization
has urged screening of international passengers at airports for
severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)when leaving the U.S.
The United States plans to warn travellers and cut back
visits to Australia because of the flu-like illness.
Mr Hockey said the outbreak, which has claimed 53 lives and made
1,408 people ill, was being closely monitored by Australia.
"The potential threat of pneumonia throughout Australia is a very
significant threat to the tourism industry - almost as much as a
potential war with Iraq," he said on the Gold Coast.
"We continue to very closely watch the spread of that pneumonia.
"Australia remains quarantined, not allowing any tourists to travel
in the country at this time."
A market snapshot complied by the Australian Tourist Commission
(ATC) has found widespread concern over SARS.
The ATC noted a SARS link with a drop in outbound travel from
the United States to Australia.
The Australian government was urging its citizens not to travel
internationally due to the SARS outbreak.
Australia's Ministry of Education has also advised the
postponement of all overseas school excursions until further notice
due to the Iraq war and SARS outbreak.
Qantas today announced flight reductions to Europe and Los
Angeles after revealing bookings had been adversely affected by the
war in Iraq and the outbreak of SARS.
Major tourism wholesaler Helen Wong, who takes tours to Australia,
said she had noticed some concern over SARS among Americans
"There are people concerned and we have received a lot of
cancellations," said Ms Wong, who is the managing director of Helen
"In Australia the affected area is near where tourists
normally travel to.
"I really think it's a world problem and people are watching us
and we are watching them."