VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Despite concerns about the novel coronavirus, people are still choosing to travel.
Allison Wallace with the global travel group Flight Center says they expect the virus outbreak will only have a short-to-medium term affect on the travel sector overall, and there aren’t as many cancellations as anticipated.
“[The travel industry] is very resilient. We’ve survived a lot of different events globally, whether it’s terrorism, natural disasters, or things like the coronavirus,” she tells NEWS 1130, adding the situation isn’t without precedent.
“For example, SARS, that was much more far-reaching in terms of hitting different regions. What they have done really well, whether it’s the WHO or the Government of China, is they’ve really managed to contain this early.”
Wallace says the travel industry is pleased with the response by both global and Chinese health officials to keep the virus contained, saying the impact so far is far less than it was during the initial stages of the SARS outbreak in 2003.
While the virus has had a deep impact on Canadian travel to China, with some flights being changed to other destinations, Wallace says they are seeing increased travel to other areas.
“Year on year comparisons, we’re seeing an increase in people going at this time of the year going to South America and Africa. The feeling is people are still travelling, but they’re choosing different destinations and avoiding the region until this calms down.”
Wallace notes most major airlines aren’t flying direct to China until the end of March, and some the end of April. She says people’s comfort level will return to normal once the situation is under control.
“People love to travel and I don’t think that’s going to change,” she says.
Meanwhile, the Canadian Government is urging against all non-essential travel to China.