Crisis management

Don't panic travellers, tourism chiefs urge

Venice is now suffering from 'undertourism' rather than overtourism.
Venice is now suffering from 'undertourism' rather than overtourism.

Global tourism leaders are calling on governments and consumers not to panic and over-react to the coronavirus crisis as more and more destinations ban visitors from countries or areas affected by the rapid spread of the coronavirus.

Israel has banned all visitors from Germany, Austria and Switzerland with effect from Friday unless they go into self-quarantine for 14 days. In the US, many travel agency customers are reportedly cancelling international trips to Europe (mostly Italy) and Asia.

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Tourism chiefs in big destinations are preparing for the worst. Italy, for example, has been hard hit by cancellations, especially to Venice, Milan and other parts of the north. New York City fears a 26% drop in Chinese visits this year.  

The US Travel Association warned that inbound international travel could plummet 6% over the next six months. President and CEO Roger Dow said: “It’s important to keep in mind that the restrictions and warnings are highly specific to countries where there have been pronounced outbreaks. Right now, there is absolutely no official guidance that people need to be reconsidering travel in the U.S.”

In Europe, tour operators and travel agents called for “proportionate” measures to protect travellers. ECTAA president Pawel Niewiadomski said: “Travel restrictions going beyond what’s required to control the spread of the virus may cause unnecessary reductions of international travel.”