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Too early to tell impact of COVID-19 outbreak on Vancouver tourism

Last Updated Feb 12, 2020 at 11:41 am PDT


Since it is the slow season for travel, it is hard to tell what the impacts of novel coronavirus will be on tourism

A group promoting partnerships with China's tourism sector is bracing for possible cancellations

The travel group is telling tour operators they will probably feel the effects of the virus

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) –The new coronavirus, now known as COVID-19, outbreak has yet to hit the local tourism industry hard, but it might still be too early to tell.

A group promoting partnerships with China’s tourism sector is bracing for possible cancellations as it looks ahead to the peak travel season in B.C.

Joe Volk, executive director for the Canadian Inbound Tourism Association of Asia-Pacific, says it is still the slow season.

“The reality is right now, of course being the time of the year, there’s not much traffic coming to Canada. So it’s hard to measure what the actual impact will be,” he explains, while noting bookings from China to Canada are usually made six weeks ahead of time.

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“The main booking season hasn’t come yet, but there will be some impact, obviously, with international travel coming to Canada from certain key areas,” Volks says.

Regardless, the group is telling member tour operators and suppliers in Canada that they will likely feel the effects of the virus outbreak while also encouraging them to come to agreements on cancellations, given the circumstances. Tourism Vancouver says it will continue monitoring the situation.

The province’s tourism ministry also says it’s too early to speculate on the extent of the virus’ impact on the industry, however, along with Tourism Vancouver, says it is still considered a low-risk travel destination.

With files from Alison Bailey