|G Adventures guests explore the Gambia River in West Africa (R Eime)|
Media reports coming from West African countries gripped by Ebola virus panic are sending waves of fear into the travel industry. Travel companies are countering this perceived threat with education.
At time of writing, the death toll from the lethal virus had just exceeded 1200 with as many again infected, at least half of whom can be expected to die from the disease, a type of hemorrhagic fever.
|Affected areas as at|
August 2014 (click to enlarge)
“We have a full ship going up the coast from Cape Town to Morocco,” said Bruce Poon Tip, CEO of G Adventures to Travel Pulse in April. “But now we're dealing with all the border restrictions from countries that have been hit with the Ebola virus, who are closing off borders between countries.”
“The World Health Organization is now doing a lot of work,” said Poon Tip. “These are destinations that are on our trip. Liberia has now closed its border, so we’re looking at how to handle that at the moment. Doctors Without Borders is playing a big part, because these areas are so remote and so removed. And they don’t have access to medical services so people become fearful of going there. We’re hoping it doesn’t spread. And we’re working with how we’re going to work our itinerary around it.”
The disease has spread since Poon Tip’s comments.
Ebola may be deadly, but it's
G Adventures have updated their response and issued this statement on their website:
“G Adventures is aware of the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa. We do have our West Africa Cruise scheduled on our Expedition vessel for April, 2015. The cruise will continue to operate. We are monitoring the situation, and may adjust the itinerary of this cruise as details become clearer and once viable options have been fully explored. Countries Affected: Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Liberia, Niger, Sierra Leone.”
Meanwhile, David Herbert, head of Great Safaris, said “We deal with 13 countries in southern and eastern Africa and we do not see it posing any threat to our U.S.A. clients.”
But, said Herbert, “It may pose a perceived threat, if potential clients and their agents are not aware of geography. Africa is over three times larger than the continental U.S.A. and the outbreak of Ebola has been located in a part of West Africa.”
Sources used: Travel Pulse, NY Times,