In this week’s digital edition of Canadian Travel Press, Ian Stalker reports that the current Ebola virus outbreak in parts of western Africa has drawn the scrutiny of a calm but cautious travel industry.
The number of deaths linked to Ebola in Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Nigeria has topped 1,000, prompting health officials to label it the worst outbreak of the grim disease to date and led Western governments to rush assistance to the affected countries to try to contain it.
Ottawa says Canadians should avoid non-essential travel to all four countries, citing Ebola as the reason Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone should now be avoided. Nigeria has only seen a few suspected cases of Ebola but should be avoided because of a poor security situation in much of the country, Foreign Affairs says.
None of the four countries sees many Canadian tourists but there are concerns about the disease spreading. The World Health Organization warned that Kenya, far from the now-affected countries and which has traditionally been popular with international travellers, could be at risk because of its being a hub for travel in Africa.
The Public Health Agency of Canada also urged Canadians to avoid non-essential travel to Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone in an update last week. It didn’t mention Nigeria.
“It is important travellers be aware of the latest updates on the Ebola outbreak before visiting western Africa,” said Christian Wolters, VP of sales and marketing for the Intrepid Group Canada. “Our team on the ground is monitoring the situation closely and we would never advise travel if we thought there was any sort of safety concern. That being said, if travellers are keen to visit a region that has not been affected, we would certainly encourage that. These [western African nations] offer a rich history and culture, and tourism is an important source of income for many of these nations.”
For the full story in this week’s issue of CTP, click here.