The Impact of Swine flu on the Travel Industry

UK travel company DialAFlight reports that after a two week slump in sales of airline tickets to Mexico and Cancun levels are gradually picking up and getting closer to the normal seasonal average.

This can be attributed to two factors. Firstly, the World Health Organisation is not recommending travel restrictions related to the outbreak of the influenza H1N1 virus. Their focus is on minimising Swine flu's spread, with rapid identification and proper treatment, rather than trying to prevent its spread by imposing travel restrictions, which would only disrupt travel and commerce.

Secondly, as a consequence of the tourist trade coming to a virtual standstill, the prices of flights and accommodation in Mexico, and especially Cancun, have come right down. Restaurants and bars are trying to woo tourists back by offering two-for-one deals on food and drink and hotels have slashed their prices after seeing occupancy rates drop 40% by the seasonal average.

In recent days the Mayor of Mexico City has spoken to say that the outbreak seems to be stabilising and life is beginning to return to normal after a citywide shutdown that lasted 5 days. The Mayor said how important it was for Mexico not to be ostracised by the rest of the world and now that levels seem to be stabilising business and tourism should be able to return to normal in the country.

Travel to other destinations most affected by the virus, namely the United States and Canada, remains relatively unaffected, with flights continuing as usual to these destinations. What was initially thought of as a global pandemic that could rival the current economic crisis, in terms of its impact on travel and business, seems to be stabilising and recovering. Everyone needs to continue to be vigilant, but this needs to happen on a global scale and the rest of the world shouldn't exclude Mexico on the basis that it was the source of the virus.

by Karen Hart


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