THE deadly coronavirus outbreak could “collapse” UK travel firms, an industry source has claimed, and some companies are already struggling.
It comes as the death toll for the bug hits more than 600, and tens of thousands of people around the world are infected.
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Speaking at a travel industry event, Joss Croft, CEO for UKinbound, called for the government to step in to help struggling holiday firms.
He said that UKinbound’s members, which all cater to tourists coming into the UK, are already suffering.
Some business have already reported “desperate cashflow problems” and some could fail before the health crisis is over.
And if a substantial number of companies go bust, it could mean thousands of travel jobs lost.
Other travel firms have complained of huge numbers of cancellations as well – and not all to or from China.
There have been holidaymakers querying their travels to Vietnam and Japan according to Travel Weekly.
Tom Jenkins, CEO of European tourism association (ETOA), explained how two of its members were taking a hit as holidaymakers cancel their booked breaks.
One has had 2,000 cancellations while another has lost 60 per cent of their business.
But the effects of coronavirus on the UK tourism industry doesn’t stop with the outbreak – it could have an impact years down the line.
Those in the travel industry have also said that people are starting to be “wary of anyone who looked Chinese, regardless of where they had come from in Asia” according to Travelmole.
Some tourists are even being segregated at restaurants and in shops, alienating those visitors, who may never return in the future.
British Airways cancelled all flights to China last month, with Virgin following suit.
Royal Caribbean and MSC have also cancelled cruises to the country.
Airports around the world have introduced extra checks for passengers, with some warned to arrive extra early.
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