Published on Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Travel industry pioneer dies from coronavirus

A Perth-based travel industry 'pioneer' has become the first coronavirus death in Australia.

James Kwan, 78, died after contracting the virus aboard the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan.

His 79-year-old wife also tested positive but remains in a stable condition.

Kwan established inbound travel agency Wel-Travel more than 30 years ago and expanded the business nationwide beyond WA.

"He made a great contribution as one of the pioneers, in developing tourism from any of the strong markets that we now experience wonderful visitation from, including Malaysia, Singapore, China, India, Indonesia," said Australian Tourism Export Council managing director Peter Shelley.

"James was always willing to share his knowledge and help others in the industry grow, often mentored young and aspiring members of the tourism industry."

The Kwans were initially taken to a quarantine centre in the Northern Territory along with other passengers on the Diamond Princess and then airlifted to a Perth medical facility about a week ago.

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