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Coronavirus Outbreak Could Impact Tourism Into 2021

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Travel leaders say the outbreak of the coronavirus – now known as covid-19 – could impact tourism into 2021.

Hilton Chief Executive Officer Chris Nassetta on Tuesday told investors we’re only at the start of the impact of the disease and how it affects travel.

“Three to six months of escalation and impact from the outbreak, and another three to six on recovery,” he told reporters, saying he estimates Hilton will take a loss of $25 million to $50 million this year.

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Much of the impact has already hit Asia, where estimates business and leisure travel for 2018 are almost $1 trillion.

“The numbers of trip cancellations — not just to China but to the entire continent of Asia — is growing every day,” Jack Ezon, founder and managing partner of luxury travel agency Embark Beyond, told Bloomberg News. “People are put off. Sadly, a lot of them are just saying, ‘I don’t know if I want to go anywhere right now.’ Or, in many cases, ‘I’ll just go next year.’”

Ezon said there is a most definite cause and effect to the virus.

“They’re worried about being anywhere close to the outbreak,” he says of the almost 75 percent of travelers who have canceled February and March departures to Southeast Asia. “Or (travelers are worried about) getting stuck with canceled flights if other hubs become infected.”

Ezon added that every single honeymoon his agency had booked to the region has been canceled and rebooked for alternate destinations, including the Maldives, southern Africa, and Australia.

School schedules also can complicate plans.

“We had one family looking at traveling over spring break, and they won’t have that same window of time until next year’s spring break,” she says. “They’re rebooking for 2021.”

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CDC Issues Travel Advisory for New York, New Jersey and Connecticut

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After a tumultuous 48 hours, in which the state of Rhode Island threatened to stop any car with New York license plates and President Trump considered quarantining New Yorkers, the Centers for Disease Control issued a travel advisory urging residents of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut to avoid out-of-state travel for 14 days due to the spread of coronavirus.

The CDC advisory issued Saturday night urged those living in the tri-state area to refrain from non-essential domestic travel for 14 days effective immediately.

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That excludes employees of critical infrastructure industries as defined by the Department of Homeland Security, according to Forbes, which includes “employees of critical infrastructure industries, including but not limited to trucking, public health professionals, financial services, and food supply.”

The CDC said the governors of the three states will have full discretion to implement this Domestic Travel Advisory.

New York, and particularly New York City with its close proximity to New Jersey and Connecticut, has become the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak, with 52,000 positives cases and more than 520 deaths alone.

The CDC decision capped an extraordinary couple of days that started when Rhode Island Gov. Raimondo ordered the National Guard and police to check drivers with New York license plates in the tiny state to see if they were new arrivals and needed to self-quarantine.

That – coming on the heels of Florida, Maryland, South Carolina and Texas ordering people from the tri-state area to self-quarantine for 14 days – included sending officials door-to-door to vacation homes in popular Rhode Island beachfront towns.

“I think that’s a reactionary policy and I don’t think that’s legal,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on CNN. “And we’re talking to Rhode Island now. If they don’t roll back that policy, I’m going to sue Rhode Island, because that clearly is unconstitutional.”

President Trump, talking briefly with reporters on the White House lawn before departing for Norfolk, Va., said that “Some people would like to see New York quarantined because it’s a hot spot. I’m thinking about that right now.”

Instead, the president instructed the CDC to issue its warning late Saturday night.

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