The number of travellers to the US is projected to fall by 6% over the next three months due to the fallout from the global coronavirus outbreak.
The forecast made by the US Travel Association came despite there being no official warnings or restrictions on inbound travel to America.
The predicted drop over the same period last year is the sharpest in the five-year history of the association’s travel trends index and would be the largest decline in international inbound travel since the 2007-08 financial crisis.
The detectable impact from coronavirus is “almost certain” to escalate once data becomes available for February, when the US started to restrict travel from China and concern began to take hold around the world.
US Travel Association president and chief executive Roger Dow said: “There is a lot of uncertainty around coronavirus, and it is pretty clear that it is having an effect on travel demand, not just from China, and not just internationally, but for domestic business and leisure travel as well.
“A big part of the coronavirus narrative is about whether it’s safe to travel but it’s important to keep in mind that the restrictions and warnings are highly specific to countries where there have been pronounced outbreaks.
“Right now there is absolutely no official guidance that people need to be reconsidering travel in the US.”
Pointing to advice from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dow added that the best thing travellers can do is utilise good health practices – wash hands often, cover your cough or sneeze and stay home if you are sick.
“Obviously the travelling public should be exercising caution just as they would for the average flu season,” he said.
“But for the many of us who have upcoming plans to attend a convention or meeting or go on a family vacation, public health officials have repeatedly said there is no cause to alter those US-based plans at the moment.”
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