Asian bank predicts -60% fall in second quarter Asian tourism revenues

PHILIPPINES. The Asian Development Bank estimates that Asian tourism revenue will crash by -60% in the second quarter because of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) crisis.

The Manila-based Bank predicts a bounce-back in the third quarter as a result of pent-up demand, leading to a -15% drop for the year as a whole. But investment bank Morgan Stanley warned that actual results could be even worse, as the forecasts are based on the assumption that the virus will become benign within two months.

The spreading disease is having a catastrophic effect on travel, especially to and from Asia plus badly-hit Toronto, Canada. One of Toronto’s biggest tourism money spinners, the five-day American Association for Cancer Research convention, which would have attracted 160,000 visitors to the city this week, was cancelled.

Meanwhile, the American Business Travel Council reported that some 27% of its members were stopping travel to Asia and that a further 8% was considering doing so.

Malaysia reported its first death from Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) death yesterday as the potentially lethal virus continued to spread around Asia and elsewhere in the world.

Many airlines have slashed services within Asia, particularly to and from hardest-hit Hong Kong and Guangdong province, China. Hong Kong carrier Cathay Pacific announced a second wave of drastic reductions on Friday, equating to a combined 23% cut in total frequencies.

As of 5 April, a cumulative total of 2,416 SARS cases and 89 deaths had been reported from 18 countries, according to the World Health Organization. This represents an increase of 63 cases and 5 deaths compared with the previous day. The deaths occurred in Hong Kong SAR (3), Malaysia (1), and Singapore (1).

New cases were reported in Canada (5), Hong Kong SAR (39), Taiwan, China (2), Singapore (1), the United Kingdom (1), and the US (15).

Note: For daily news and updated statistics on SARS, click on SARS Crisis feature on the home page.

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