Pedestrians wearing face masks cross a road during a Lunar New Year of the Rat public holiday in Hong Kong on January 27, 2020, as a preventative measure following a coronavirus outbreak which began in the Chinese city of Wuhan
CAIRO – 24 February 2020: Coronavirus outbreak has severely affected global tourism rates, becoming the largest obstacle to global economic growth, said Adviser to the World Tourism Organization (WTO) Saeed el-Batouti.
WTO adviser said that there is a decline in aviation demand forecast to 0.6% instead of 4.8 percent, adding that the rate of bookings has also dropped by 11 percent since the virus outbreak.
Expedia has temporarily removed China off its tourist destinations from the search engine, including hotel and flight bookings due to the epidemic, according to el-Batouti, who said that there is lack of tourists in Chinese cities.
Five global navigation companies have stopped their cruises to and from China temporarily until May, and they are: Norwegian Cruise Line, Holland America Line, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Oceania Cruises and Cunard.
El-Batouti further said that the negative impact of coronavirus has extended to tourism in Southeast Asia countries including: Japan - Hong Kong - Macau - Thailand - Malaysia - Singapore - Vietnam - Cambodia - India - Sri Lanka - Bangladesh - Nepal - Bhutan - Myanmar - Philippines - Indonesia - Australia - New Zealand and the Pacific Islands (Oceania). Tourist sites, hotels and shops were almost emptied due to fear of the outbreak.
He explained that airlines alone are expected to lose about 29 billion dollars in revenue this year, and for tourism revenue losses in principle, are expected to reach 3 billion USD worldwide.
China exports 200 million tourists to different touristic destinations across the world each year, where Chinese tourists represent the highest tourism spending in the world amounting to 277 billion dollar in one year.
As the outbreak of the virus continues to spread outside China, the World Health Organization declared coronavirus a global emergency, where the number of infected in China reached 79,565 cases, and the death toll hit 2,619 people.