A hint of nervousness?

By | Category: Travel rumblings

Market research by onepoll suggests to me that some nervousness is creeping into the public’s mind of the coronavirus outbreak.

Air Asia X has responded to the coronavirus by offering unlimited flights for a year for just about £93 to members of its frequent flying club living in Malaysia

Despite there being only 36 cases in the UK and one in Ireland, the poll suggests that 49% don’t believe that the government is doing enough to contain the problem and that half of responders think all travel to and from the UK should be halted.

That means that the other half don’t think it should be halted or haven’t made up their minds.

More than a quarter of those polled are worried about the effect the virus is going to have on their holiday plans, with 14% thinking about cancelling or changing travel arrangements. Again, look at the reverse. About three-quarters are unworried or non-comital about the effects on their holiday plans and 86% are not considering altering holiday arrangements.

Having said that, any number of airlines are downgrading their profit forecasts and postponing flights to certain destinations such as to China, Iran, Northern Italy and some other destinations in the Far East.

That concern can be seen in the promotional move by the low-cost, Malaysian based airline – Air Asia X which is the long-haul brand of Air Asia. For the Malaysian based members of its frequent flyer club it is offering unlimited flights for a year on any of its routes for the equivalent of just under £93. That includes flights from Kuala Lumpur to Australia, Japan and India amongst other destinations.

An outburst from Tom Jenkins, the head of ETOA (European Tour Operators Association) in the travel trade online site, Travelmole, this morning highlights the travel industry’s concern. He writes,

“A balance has to be struck between containing what is becoming a pandemic and the damage such containment measures cause. The danger lies when governments act because they feel they need to pander to fear. This fans the problem that it ostensibly seeks to extinguish, as they struggle to control what they cannot influence. Public panic is a natural reaction to authorities addressing what they assert is a crisis with floundering impotence.”

He goes on to suggest the outbreak could grow for another three weeks and then decline for further six weeks by which time rising temperature will probably have removed the problem.

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