DENVER (CBS4) – Health officials are advising travelers to avoid countries in western Africa because of the Ebola outbreak and the possibility, if infected, they’d bring the deadly virus back to the United States.
That warning is triggering ripple effects in the travel industry.
Africa Adventure Consultants, located in Denver, books safari trips. But its president, Kent Redding, says that since the Ebola scare began, they’ve seen a drop in business.
“Where we have seen a big impact is in the number of new inquiries that we’re getting,” he said. “We’re seeing call volumes drop by about half from where they were this time last year.”
One travel group cancelled its trip. Another postponed theirs for a year, Redding said.
He said travelers can purchase an insurance policy that allows them to cancel for any reason. It costs more money, of course, but he said he is recommending that for his clients now.
Redding says many of their clients do recognize that the risks are low and that the epicenter of the Ebola outbreak is across the continent from his destinations.
Even still, companies such as Bushtop Camps have now introduced a short-notice cancellation policy. But most insurance companies’ standard policies do not indulge fears of Ebola as a valid reason to cancel.
“We are not aware of any company that will pay out claims for cancellations based on general fear of Ebola,” he said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on its website warned against non-essential travel to countries like Sierra Leone, Guinea and the Democratic Republic of Congo, among others.
More than 4,500 people have died from the disease during the recent outbreak.
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