China’s coronavirus outbreak could have serious economic consequences for the global tourism sector if panic is allowed, the World Tourism and Travel Council warns.
“Previous cases have shown that airport closures, flight cancellations, and border closures often have a greater economic impact than the actual epidemic,” said WTTC President Gloria Guevara.
Over 40 million people were blocked by anti-epidemic measures on Friday, and several popular tourist attractions in the Beijing area, such as parts of the Great Wall, have been closed as part of measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus. According to the latest official report, the epidemic has already killed 26 victims out of a total of 830 infected people, of whom 177 are considered in serious condition.
Gloria Guevara is a former Minister of Tourism in Mexico and as such, in 2009, was involved in managing the H1N1 flu epidemic in Mexico, which resulted in the deaths of several thousand people. According to the WTTC, the global economic impact of the H1N1 epidemic has been estimated at $ 55 billion, and losses from the Mexican tourism industry are estimated at $ 5 billion. A similar economic impact was felt by China, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Canada following the 2003 SARS epidemic, which caused the global tourism sector to estimated $ 30- $ 50 billion in losses.