As the confirmed cases of swine flu in Australia rocketed past 600 yesterday, the Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC) has warned the “hysteria” over the virus will undermine the tourism sector.
Already struggling through the global financial crisis, ATEC managing director Matthew Hingerty urged politicians and the media to keep things in perspective.
“My members are rapidly losing business as a result of an overreaction,” he said. “We are already feeling the impact of this, significantly. We have been since the first outbreak. We don’t want to add unemployment and business failure to the negative impact of this situation.”
Hingerty added that no one had died from swine flu yet, although some 3,000 Australian die from other types of influenza every year.
“We are appealing for everyone to be calm, factual and objective in their reporting and commentary of swine flu,” he said. “We’ll work on the medical facts and leave the spin aside.”
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