Mexico is set to begin a five-day nationwide shutdown of non-essential businesses in an effort to stem the spread of a new flu strain, as further cases of the disease were confirmed in the US and Europe.
The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has called upon the industry not to panic over swine flu. It stresses that the level of preparedness for such a pandemic within the industry is much better than most people realise, since mechanisms to deal with global health risks have been stepped up considerably since SARS and avian flu last tested the resilience of the Travel & Tourism industry.
Airlines have been dealt a further blow as a number of multinational companies have imposed a travel ban on employees amid intensifying panic over global swine flu.Companies suspending non-essential overseas travel include Nokia, Adidas, Samsung, Honda and Swiss Re. The moves come as a double whammy to the premium class revenues of airlines, which are also reeling from the global downturn.
Growing concerns over swine flu has forced travel firms to start cancelling flights to Mexico.As late as yesterday it was declared that outbound flights would not be affected, however new warnings from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office advise against all non-essential travel, leaving many holiday-makers bound for Meixco stranded at the airport.
Spain confirmed Europe’s first case of swine flu today as the EU announced an emergency health ministers’ meeting to prepare for the possibility of a global pandemic.Fears of the potential impact on tourism and travel have set travel and airline shares tumbling. Among the hardest hit were British Airways (falling over 12 percent at one point) and TUI Travel (down over 7 percent).