The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is causing a number of problems for the travel industry. However, until recently, the only confirmed deaths of the virus were within Africa. Unfortunately, not only has an American died in Texas; a nurse has tested positive for the virus in Spain. This has thrown up a lot of red flags, and people are starting to second-guess travelling to Africa while stock brokers are steering clear of the travel industry.
Shares for travel companies fell on Wednesday, Oct. 8, on the heels of the Ebola virus death and positive test reported outside of Africa. Airline shares were hit the hardest. The International Airlines Group, the owner of British Airways, said that its shares fell as much as 7 percent. Total, this knocks off around £500 million of the group’s market value. This should not come as a shock since International Airlines Group also owns Iberia and Vueling, which are both Spanish airlines.
Of course, the fall in shares was not only noticed by airline companies. TUI Travel shares dropped 2.5 percent, while cruise company Carnival said that it has seen a 1-percent drop in shares. All of these companies believe that the drop in shares is due to the Ebola outbreak, which is now the worst in history.
The World Health Organization said that it has been providing Spanish authorities with tips on how to contain the Ebola infection within the country. Apparently, the Spanish nurse who tested positive for the virus was caring for two elderly Spanish missionaries who contracted the virus while travelling in Africa. These two missionaries were evacuated to Madrid for special treatment.
An outbreak in Spain would be terrible for its economy because nationals from other countries would refuse to travel there. Right now, more than 12 million Brits travel to Spain every year. A number of Brits have already cancelled their plans to travel there after the nurse became infected.
This Ebola outbreak has infected more than 7,300 people in West Africa. So far, the virus is believed to have killed 3,400. Cases for this virus have been found in Nigeria, Senegal and the United States. Since there is no cure for the disease, nearly half of the people who come into contact with the virus die. Fear of the virus spreading to other countries has been growing as of late while aid workers travel to help people in Africa. Oftentimes, the people who come into contact with the virus don’t know about it for weeks. By this time, they have already returned home and come into contact with others.