INBOUND agencies in Thailand are seeing no discernible impact on either arrival numbers or bookings following reports that the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus was found on a 71-year-old Omani man who travelled to Bangkok.
“We have not received any inquiries so far or cancellations. We are monitoring the situation and are in close contact with the ministry of health as well as the ministry of tourism,” said Laurent Kuenzle, CEO, Asian Trails.
Concurring, Siprang Srinarintranon, spokesperson for Diethelm, said: “I don’t think it will have a negative impact. The government has already identified the persons who came in contact with that patient and they seem to have everything under control.”
The MERS virus was responsible for more than 30 deaths in South Korea last year and first appeared in Saudi Arabia in 2012. It is also a cousin of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) virus, which killed hundreds in Asia after it first broke out in 2003.
“The fact that many countries here were affected by SARS means that there is a higher level of awareness when considering the current risk of MERS,” said Jesper Palmqvist, area director Asia Pacific, STR Global.
As of press time, 32 individuals have been quarantined for observation and the Omani patient is reported to be in stable condition.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Public Health is coordinating with 37 airlines to inform passengers arriving in Thailand from countries with reports of MERS to strictly abide by preventive measures.