[TravelPulse] Coronavirus Outbreak Could Impact Tourism Into 2021
Travel leaders say the outbreak of the coronavirus - now known as covid-19 - could impact tourism into 2021.
Hilton Chief Executive Officer Chris Nassetta on Tuesday told investors we're only at the start of the impact of the disease and how it affects travel.
"Three to six months of escalation and impact from the outbreak, and another three to six on recovery," he told reporters, saying he estimates Hilton will take a loss of $25 million to $50 million this year.
Much of the impact has already hit Asia, where estimates business and leisure travel for 2018 are almost $1 trillion.
"The numbers of trip cancellations - not just to China but to the entire continent of Asia - is growing every day," Jack Ezon, founder and managing partner of luxury travel agency Embark Beyond, told Bloomberg News. "People are put off. Sadly, a lot of them are just saying, 'I don't know if I want to go anywhere right now.' Or, in many cases, 'I'll just go next year.'"
Ezon said there is a most definite cause and effect to the virus.
"They're worried about being anywhere close to the outbreak," he says of the almost 75 percent of travelers who have canceled February and March departures to Southeast Asia. "Or (travelers are worried about) getting stuck with canceled flights if other hubs become infected."
Ezon added that every single honeymoon his agency had booked to the region has been canceled and rebooked for alternate destinations, including the Maldives, southern Africa, and Australia.
School schedules also can complicate plans.
"We had one family looking at traveling over spring break, and they won't have that same window of time until next year's spring break," she says. "They're rebooking for 2021."
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