While stock markets plummeted for the second day on coronavirus fears and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Americans of a likely outbreak in the U.S., tourism around the world is suffering not only over concerns about the virus but because of a dip in the number of Chinese travelers.
Gloria Guevara, president and CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council, told Cheddar Tuesday the U.S. is losing an average of $6,000-7,000 for each would-be Chinese visitor who opts not to, or is not allowed to, travel.
She noted that Chinese travelers are among the biggest spenders, so the entire industry feels the effects of this outbreak. The World Travel Organization said travel departures in China had hit 150 million in 2018 and Chinese travelers abroad spent $277 billion in the same period.
Airlines used to ferrying Chinese tourists to destinations around the globe are set to lose nearly $30 billion in revenue this year.
The illness, officially labeled COVID-19, is advancing across multiple continents even as infection rates seem to be stabilizing in China. A month ago, more than 2,000 new cases were reported daily in China. That number was down to 508 on Monday.
The U.S. isn't the only nation that is accustomed to welcoming foreign travelers and poised to lose tourist dollars. Indonesian officials say more than 40,000 hotel bookings on the island of Bali have been canceled. Vietnam is projected to lose billions in spending from tourists.
"The impact is like a domino effect," she said.
She said to help China, people need to be careful not to stigmatize Asian travelers and, as the spread is contained, incentivize travel to support all of the individuals relying on tourism for jobs.