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Hotel industry sounds alarm over coronavirus threat

by | 05 Feb 2020 | News

The hospitality industry is having to fall back on protocol to deal with the coronavirus outbreak.

China itself sees tourism levels in high-traffic areas such as Hong Kong and Macau drop by as much as 40%, in a bruising hit to the industry.

The deadly coronavirus is transcending borders, as cases have been confirmed as far afield as Germany, Australia, Finland, Canada and India. Entire Chinese cities are on lockdown, and tourism has been hit hard by travel warnings and immigration control on those leaving affected areas. We find out more. 

Tourism dips as coronavirus spreads

An outbreak of a new strain of coronavirus, which is also the type of flu virus that Sars or bird flu comes from, originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan, and now at least 425 people are reported dead in China. The virus has spread to countries in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and North America, and tourism over the busy period of Chinese New Year was severely dented as travel warnings were issued across the country. The hospitality industry is having to fall back on protocol to deal with the outbreak, but some in the industry are finding that dealing with the deadly disease is not as straightforward as they might have imagined. 

Hospitality guidelines

Although they initially held off on doing so, the World Health Organisation has declared the health crisis a public emergency, which has triggered the implementation of various policies and protocols to tackle the virus. Hospitality premises and hotel staff in the US follow the lead of the WHO and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but many fear that widespread contagion will have a “material impact” on hospitality services. Many big brand hotels have been issuing cancellation notices and listing places which they advise guests not to travel to. 

Tense situation 

The coronavirus spread was ramping up as hospitality professionals attended the annual Americas Lodging Investment Summit in LA, the largest hospitality conference in the world. Chinese visitors to the US make up a huge percentage of inbound travel, so delegates at the conference were watching the news closely to monitor the progress of the disease. As many as 62 countries have now implemented immigration control on Chinese citizens entering their country. China itself has seen tourism levels in high-traffic areas such as Hong Kong and Macau drop by as much as 40%, in a bruising hit to the industry. 

 

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