THE impact of SARS on the global tourism industry is
five times greater than that of September 11, according to the World Travel and
Tourism Council.

Speaking at the Third Global Travel and
Tourism Summit in Vilamoura, Portugal, WTTC vice-president research and
economics Richard Miller said the SARS crisis in China, Hong Kong, Singapore
and Vietnam is “perhaps the most dramatic prolonged shutdown of the industry on
record”.

“Only the September 11 events can serve as a point of
reference and the SARS impact is five times greater,” he said.

His call came as the International Labour Office
predicted five million tourism jobs could be lost this year as SARS and the
threat of terrorism continues to depress travel markets.