World Travel & Tourism Council is warning against a growing trend of discrimination against Chinese and Asian tourists in light of the Coronavirus outbreak.

The forum for the travel and tourism industry has released a statement to warn the world against “disproportionate reactions which could result in discrimination”.

It said such stigmatisation was not only hurtful but could run the risk of ostracising one of the biggest tourist groups in the world.

As of this morning, there have been 45,222 reported cases of the virus which originated in China with 1,118 deaths.

“The coronavirus will not be solved by singling out individuals or groups from any country, such as China or those in other parts of Asia”.

WTTC President and CEO, Gloria Guevara

“While some of this misguided action may be well-meaning and it is clearly important the tourism sector plays its part to contain the spread of the coronavirus, this will not be achieved by alienating the world’s biggest tourist group,” she said.

She explained that China had become a key global player and its tourism market has experienced massive growth in recent years. with Chinese tourists, travelling both individually and within groups accounting for 16% of the world’s international travel spending.

Gloria Guevara WTTC.

While warning against racism, WTTC supports The World Health Organisation’s recommendations for travellers, and the general public, to reduce exposure to and transmission of a range of illnesses including frequent hand cleaning; covering mouth and nose with flexed elbow when sneezing or coughing; avoid close contact with anyone who has a fever and cough.

An analysis of previous major viral epidemics by experts from WTTC, shows that the average recovery time for visitor numbers to a destination was 19.4 months, but with the right response and management could recover in as little as 10 months.

You can read the full statement here.