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Swine flu affects tourism

The global outbreak of swine flu could be an opportunity for the Australian tourism sector to take advantage of the domestic market, says managing director of the Australian Tourism Export Council, Matt Hingerty.

“We often find when there is an issue like this that people don’t stop travelling altogether, they just change their destinations and they change their plans.”

He has hinted at the possibility that overseas travellers will use the swine flu to escape their country, heading over to our shores.

However, executive director Olivia Wirth from the Transport and Tourism Forum believes the swine flu will have the opposite effect on the tourism industry, with similar catastrophe results to the SARS crisis six years ago.

She believes that because Australia is a long-haul destination, it could act as a barrier for tourists.

“It’s too early to tell the full impact of swine flu but if it’s anything like the SARS virus there are very, very tough times ahead.

“Australia’s vulnerable because we’re a long-haul destination and anything that acts as a barrier to people getting on a plane and coming here is going to hurt us.”

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