The travel industry has been working “round the clock” with several companies setting up crisis teams to reassure worried clients about the impact of coronavirus.
Public concern has soared this week following the outbreak in Tenerife and northern Italy as the virus spreads around Europe.
The Travel Network Group has created a helpline for members as well as hosting a webinar with legal advisors.
“We are obviously aware of their concerns with how the coronavirus may play out, and we are working hard to provide guidance and assistance,” added TTNG chief executive Gary Lewis.
“We are not underestimating the situation and want to make sure we are providing our members with full support.”
Barrhead Travel, meanwhile, has set up a dedicated crisis team to support clients and branches, including rebooking cancelled cruise itineraries.
Jacqueline Dobson, president of Barrhead Travel, added: “We’ve noticed the impact that coronavirus is having on the types of questions and queries that our customers may have about upcoming holidays.
“We’re supporting our branch and franchise network with continually updated talking points and key facts. The most important thing is that our colleagues have access to the most up-to-date information and factual resources in order for them to answer customer queries.”
Operators continue to make changes to their itineraries – APT has cancelled all tours to mainland China until 30 April, while Wendy Wu Tours has axed trips to China until 30 March.
So far, coronavirus does not seem to be hitting the ski market, despite the outbreaks in northern Italy close to many of the country’s resorts.
Diane Palumbo, sales and marketing director of Skiworld and Seasonal Businesses in Travel spokesperson, said: “Our Italian resorts are just outside the exclusion area and although we’ve a had a few calls from customers, skiers are a savvy bunch so most seem unconcerned.
“As most of our clients are under 60 years old, the risk to their health is pretty small. I think flinging yourself down a mountain might statistically be higher.”
“I think it is important that we, along with our trade partners, keep a cool head and base decisions or advice on factual information. And for most without underlying health conditions or older aged, the risks are small.”