Tourism chiefs tackle bird flu at ITB

If the H5N1 virus, which causes bird flu, was to mutate into a a human influenza virus the tourism business would be severely affected, this was the conclusion at meeting at ITB in Berlin on Friday.Bird flu is also being factored into IPK’s forecast for world outbound travel this year - based on a number of scenarios, one of which being that avian flu will not affect travel - is that there will be an overall 3-4% growth.

In contrast, John Koldowski, head of Strategic Intelligence at the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), said at the ITB Convention that he believes there could be a significant fall-out for tourism if the H5N1 virus were to mutate into a human influenza virus.

And, given trends over the past few years - ie there is always something that is unpredictable - Koldowski believes that tourism will continue to be affected by other factors outside our control.