Tags: Ebola Outbreak | Ebola | travel | fears | hazmat | sneeze | plane

Travel Industry Tries to Temper Fears About Ebola Outbreak

By    |   Friday, 10 October 2014 03:14 PM

Travel Industry Tries to Temper Fears About Ebola Outbreak
After a U.S. Airways flight landed in the Dominican Republic on Wednesday, a hazmat team boarded and escorted off the plane a passenger who had sneezed and then said: "I have Ebola. You're all screwed."

While it would became clear the passenger was not infected with the deadly virus, the travel and airline industries are taking a proactive approach to ensure fears of contamination do not negatively impact the economy.

On Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced plans to begin new layers of entry screening at five U.S. airports that receive more than 94 percent of travelers from Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, the three African nations at the heart of the Ebola outbreak.

As some lawmakers called for a ban on travel from West Africa and with the Thanksgiving holiday fast approaching, travel industry representatives were quick to endorse the proposal.

U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow expressed his support for the "thoughtful and measured" response by the administration, including the enhanced screening procedures.

"Relevant agencies across the federal government deserve praise for the responsible, deliberative approach they have brought to this high-profile problem," stated Dow.

The Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA) also weighed in with a statement of support.

"ALPA has full confidence in the current screening protocols for passengers traveling to the United States from affected countries and in the travel procedures in place at all U.S. ports of entry, including the expanded screening taking place at Atlanta, Chicago O'Hare, New York-JFK, Newark, and Washington Dulles International airports," the association's statement said.

Speaking at the National Press Club, Airlines for America President Nicholas Calio said: "We think that air travel is totally safe, and people should keep getting on airplanes, if you look at the facts of how the disease is communicated," according to The Hill.

In the short-term, there have been signs of the potential impact on the travel industry.

Shares of Carnival Corp. and Royal Caribbean, the two largest cruise lines, declined nearly 5 percent after some cruise lines announced they would not dock in West Africa, reports The South Florida Business Journal. Royal Caribbean cruises said they had no itineraries to West Africa.

A new Harris Poll/Health Day survey released today showed the number of Americans expressing concerns about Ebola has risen in recent weeks.

Conducted Oct. 2-6, the online poll found the number of people who view the virus as a "major threat" increased from 13 percent in late September to 27 percent in October.

And shortly after the CDC confirmed the first case of Ebola in the U.S., CNN Money reported shares of the major airlines dropped between 2 percent and 4 percent.

In 2013, international travelers spent an estimated $180.7 billion in the U.S., according to the American Hotel & Lodging Association.

If the outbreak is contained, "we don't see this affecting the global or U.S. travel and tourism numbers," Max Rayner, a partner at Hudson Crossing travel consultancy, told CNBC.

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After a U.S. Airways flight landed in the Dominican Republic on Wednesday, a hazmat team boarded and escorted off the plane a passenger who had sneezed and then said: "I have Ebola. You're all screwed."
Ebola, travel, fears, hazmat, sneeze, plane
502
2014-14-10
Friday, 10 October 2014 03:14 PM
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