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Swine flu "no cause for panic", says tourism body

01 May 2009 by
Swine flu "no cause for panic", says tourism body

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has said swine flu is a "serious concern, but no cause for panic".

In a statement, the tourism organisation said outbreaks of communicable diseases, such as swine fever, have important implications for all sectors of the travel and tourism industry.

However, the WTTC warned that suspending international travel at this point would have a hugely damaging affect on the global tourism industry, which is already struggling from a fall in demand brought about by the international recession.

Jean-Claude Baumgarten, president of the WTTC, said: "I would like to stress that the level of preparedness for such a pandemic within the industry is much better than most people realise, since mechanisms to deal with global health risks have been stepped up considerably since SARS and avian flu."

"Our aim is to call on governments to work in partnership with the industry to help restore confidence in travel and tourism and in the industry's efforts to ensure the safety and well-being of its customers."

Baumgarten said that the WTTC was monitoring the situation closely and remained in close contact with the World Health Organisation and would update member organisations accordingly.

In the UK, the Department of Health has confirmed there are now eight cases of swine fever.

VisitBritain: no need yet to advise UK tourists on swine flu >>
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By Chris Druce

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