WTTC: Don’t panic over swine flu

The World Travel and Tourism Council has warned the industry not to panic as the number of UK confirmed cases rose to eight yesterday.

The council has reassured the sector that it is safe to continue business as usual. It advises people who are ill to delay international travel and seek medical attention if they develop symptoms following travel.

It said: “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 bird flu last tested the resilience of the travel and tourism industry.”

However, combined with the effects of the recession, swine flu could lead to further job losses in the industry, it warned.

“The swine flu outbreak is compounding the ailments of the global economy just as there are signs it might be starting to stabilise, darkening the outlook for everything from tourism to world trade.”

The WTTC will call on the government to work with the travel industry to restore confidence.

Meanwhile, health officials are investigating the first suspected case of swine flu being transmitted within the UK.

A man is thought to have contracted the virus from Scottish couple Iain and Dawn Askham. The couple, who have now left hospital, become the first confirmed cases after returning from their honeymoon in Cancun, Mexico.

Tests are being carried out today at the Health Protection Agency to confirm whether he has swine flu.

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