Should the H5N1 virus mutate and become easily transmissible from person-to-person, the impact of a new human pandemic influenza virus could be significant.

Some estimates predict millions will die, the global economy will suffer a major setback and travel will be badly disrupted. The timeline for any such eventuality is unpredictable but the global community is preparing for the possibility and the tourism sector is involved.

If a new human pandemic influenza virus emerges, the World Health Organization would make travelrecommendations to its Member States, under the provisions of the International Health Regulations (2005), including a number of public health interventions, which could have an impact on domestic and international travel.

National governments would execute their own avian flu plans which could have similar impacts.Preparation by National Tourism Administrations and stakeholders in the public and private sector tourism promotion boards and private sector companies requires the commitment of human and financial resources.I

t is important to react to this situation in a measured way. The industry has proven its resilience to externalcrises in recent years and tourism authorities have learned better how and when to respond. Stakeholders who are prepared will respond more effectively, recover more rapidly, minimize job andrevenue loss and above all help tourists more responsibly in any crisis situation. Source: UNWTO

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