The Pacific Asia Travel Association (Pata) has warned there is a “high risk” it will take longer for the travel industry to recover from the global impact of the coronavirus outbreak than it did from the 2002/03 Sars outbreak.
According to Pata, concerns about the effect of the Covid-19 infection on the travel industry “are increasing daily”, with its impact being felt by all industry stakeholders – both public and private sector.
“With cases in China still rising, many destinations and organisations across the Asia Pacific region are concerned about the financial impact on their business in 2020 and beyond, as they have relied heavily on China as a primary source market,” said Pata chief executive Dr Mario Hardy.
“The number one question on everyone’s minds is, how long before we recover? This isn’t a simple question to answer as we have not yet seen the tipping point, i.e. the time when the number of new cases reduces day by day.”
Hardy said that, based on past experience, such as the Sars outbreak, the industry began to show signs of recovery after about six months. However, Hardy believes on this occasion there is a “high risk” the recovery may take longer.
“Chinese businesses in every sector are being financially impacted in ways that are almost inconceivable,” said Hardy. “It is likely Chinese citizens may not be able to take as many overseas holidays later in the year and focus on making up for lost income.”
Pata said while businesses and destinations should, of course, back their partners and suppliers in China, it was important in the short- to medium-term to look to the domestic market and other source markets to “fill the void”.
“Building and maintaining a close relationship with your partners in China during this difficult time is key to quicker recovery once this situation is behind us,” said Hardy. “More than ever, our industry needs to stand together, put our competitive interests aside and partner for a better tomorrow.”
Pata is encouraging all members and industry partners to remain calm, but vigilant to the threat posed by coronavirus and take all necessary precautions.