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Published on Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Ebola crisis hits travel industry

Fears about the spread of the Ebola virus have hit the travel industry, causing shares in airlines, tour operators, cruise operators and hotels to slump on the London Stock Exchange.

TUI Travel shares fell 15.3p to 382p yesterday while the price of Thomas Cook shares was down 6.4p to 112.6p due to concerns that travel companies will be hit by falling demand for overseas travel following the confirmation that the deadly Ebola virus had spread to Europe.

A Spanish nurse has become the first person to contract the virus outside of west Africa, where it has already killed more than 3,000 people. The nurse, who was part of the medical team treating a priest who had been evacuated from Sierra Leone when he became ill, was admitted to hospital near Madrid on Monday after testing positive for the virus.

British Airways' parent IAG saw almost 7% wiped off its share price yesterday while easyJet shares fell 78p to £13.89. Cruise giant Carnival suffered a 167p drop in its share price to £23.28 while InternContinental Hotels Group shares slid 85p to £22.44.

Analysts at JP Morgan have tried to reassure investors that Ebola, which is spread through contact with infected body fluids, was not a 'material risk' unless is became airborne, said the Telegraph.

They said Ebola should not have the same impact as the SARS outbreak in 2003, which caused airline shares to plunge, as SARS was an airborne illness that was 'relatively easy' to contract.


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