Coronavirus Threat: Its Effect On Global Tourism

The new strain of the coronavirus has dealt a tremendous blow to inbound and outbound travel in Ghana. The infectious disease has been sighted in 20 countries after the first detection in China. It has negatively created a dent in tourism growth. Airlines such as Air Canada have cancelled flights to China, Russia has closed its land borders to all travel from China and Hong Kong has completely shut down all their borders into and out of China.

The first case of the virus was reported in December 2019. Compared to the SARS epidemic, corona has infected more people and spread faster albeit with less fatalities. The SARS epidemic in 2003 was estimated to have caused a drop in inbound tourist travel of 9.4million and a loss of between $30billion and $50billion.

During the SARS epidemic, China only contributed a small percentage to world tourism by receiving less than 38million people and sending out 17million out of their country. This is small in comparison to the Chinese tourism economy of 2019, which has received 142million inbound travel, 134million outbound travel and 5.5billion domestic travel.

The travel bans imposed on the Chinese people includes a severe restriction on domestic travel, by the Chinese government. These restrictions will affect commerce and the global economy at large. Share prices of major airlines and cruise companies have already started to drop drastically.

Depending on how long the travel restrictions last and how aggressive the disease spreads, losses will double or even triple that of 2003 SARS. Hotels and other accommodation facilities are also waiving cancellation fees in anticipation of growing change in reservations. AirCanada will fully refund ticket costs to its passengers but not all airlines will. Many passengers will lose their money partly due to the fact that this particular situation is unique and hence not covered by travel insurance.

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