Monday, May 04, 2009

Influenza A: Outbreak won't affect tourist arrivals

The tourism industry here is confident that the influenza A (H1N1) outbreak will not affect tourist arrivals.

Redang Resort Operators Association honorary secretary Yap Chuan Bin said this was because most of the tourists who came to the state's islands were locals or from Asian countries, such as China, Taiwan and Singapore.

"In fact, we are expecting an increase in the number of Singaporeans due to their strengthening dollar."

However, Yap urged the government to take the necessary steps to ensure the disease did not spread here. Yap said the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak several years ago had badly affected tourist arrivals.

Ping Anchorage managing director Alex Lee said tourist arrivals fell by about 30 per cent during the SARS outbreak. "There is no need to worry just yet but we need to be on our toes. The last thing we need is an unfavourable travel advisory for our country."

Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents Terengganu chapter chairman Esmadee Endut said the industry could seize the opportunity to woo more tourists, especially from China and Hong Kong, as people were staying away from the United States and other affected countries.

Source : NST
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