According to the Austrian travel market players, tourist flow from Austria to Turkey and Egypt decreased dramatically as soon as the information about the risk of infection appeared. Turkey is one of the most estimated tourist markets for austrian travellers. ‘We do feel the bird flu concerning the bookings in Turkey’, said Karin Rifaat, Spokesman of the Board of TUI AG, in the interview to the BANKO correspondent.
Meanwhile, experts do not express concern about the current situation planning to focus on other destinations unless the demand for Egypt and Turkey stabilizes. Rifaat stated as follows: ‘lots of our guests still wait with their bookings. We observe that our customers tend to wait longer with their travel decisions. On the other hand many bookings were taken on other destinations, such as Spain or Greece who might be the top destinations this year’. Furthermore, travel market experts pointed out the following tendency: the more cases of bird flu are registered in tourists’ native country, the less fear they have traveling to risk zones.
The British market players do not consider bird flu to be a problem at all. ‘We do sell China and Vietnam where the outbreak is considered more serious. Even there we have seen no downturn in enquiries or bookings. It tends to be package tour operators who are affected more than us, as they have to commit further in advance and cannot afford to take risks. But as far as the UK is concerned there has been no downturn for the package operators to these destinations either. Generally I think people realise that you can only catch bird flue if you handle dead infected birds. Not something we all regularly do on holiday!’, said Nick Laing, the Head of British Steppes Travel.