As the number of cases of coronavirus continues to rise worldwide, many people are abandoning travel plans for the foreseeable future and it’s having serious consequences for Jersey tourism, says the Jersey Hospitality Association’s Simon Soar.
‘The impact of the coronavirus outbreak is of real concern to the hospitality industry because we’re already dealing with the fall-out. There has not been a single confirmed case of coronavirus in Jersey yet our members have already seen a major drop in bookings. We are just not getting the bookings we’d expect and it’s big worry.
‘As a result of the outbreak, there’s been a huge decline in the number of people wanting to travel. We usually get German tour operators coming over by the bus load and now they’re evaluating whether to go ahead with slots they have booked. We just want to get the message out there that as far as Jersey’s hospitality industry is concerned it’s business as usual.
‘What’s so frustrating is that were talking about a disease that’s not too different to flu. Most people aren’t especially at risk as it only seriously affects the vulnerable and elderly. However, the level of hysteria around it has been crazy and the media has had a huge part to play in that. There has been a lot of scaremongering and as a result, people are under the impression travelling anywhere will put them at risk. They’re choosing to stay put instead.
‘We’re continuing to work with Visit Jersey to monitor the situation and we’re working with the local authorities to make sure the best precautions are in place. We have to cross our fingers that the spread of the disease will fizzle out, and then we can crack on with trying to repair the damage.’