Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Minutes of Evidence


APPENDIX 1

BTA's Report on the Impact of Foot and Mouth Coverage in Overseas Markets

AUSTRALIA

  Overall media coverage of FMD is decreasing. Headlines have included: "Foot and Mouth Outlook Improves"—carried in all major newspapers on 5 April 2001. "Hope Emerges on Foot and Mouth"—the Australian (Times reported article) 5 April 2001.

  The Australian Fisheries and Food Authorities have placed ads in all travel trade media, mentioning FMD and warning not to import any dairy/food products from abroad.

  In comparison with previous weeks, the proportion of enquiries relating to FMD has decreased.

BELGIUM

  Overall media coverage of FMD in Britain is decreasing but coverage on FMD in the Netherlands is increasing.

  In comparison with last week, the total number of enquiries has remained the same, however the proportion of enquiries to BTA relating to FMD has decreased by 20 per cent.

  Cancellations are decreasing, but bookings are not reaching the same levels as this time last year.

BRAZIL

  Overall media coverage of FMD is decreasing.

  The Brazilian Government has made no public statements with reference to FMD.

  The advice to London from Brazilian UK posts is that high profile articles addressing FMD would be counter productive in Brazil given that Brazilians are familiar with the problem and there is no sense of panic.

CANADA

  Overall media coverage of FMD is decreasing. This is the first week that there has been no FMD front-page newspaper coverage.

  Some Alberta provincial MPs are suggesting to their residents not to visit the UK in order to protect the cattle industry.

  In comparison with last week, the number of enquiries to BTA Toronto has decreased, however the proportion of enquiries relating to FMD has reduced to 40 per cent from 60 per cent.

DENMARK

  In comparison with last week, the total numbers of enquiries have remained the same, however the proportions of enquiries relating to FMD have increased.

  Increase in group cancellations compared with last week—especially from agricultural interest groups and youth groups originating from rural areas of Denmark.

  One canal boat operator has reported that he has lost two thirds of his summer business, due to the fact that the waterway system has been closed.

  Coach operators are reporting a standstill in bookings as customers wait for FMD developments.

DUBAI

  In comparison with last week, the total number of enquiries to BTA in Dubai has increased by 30 per cent. Very few of these enquiries are in relation to FMD.

  Overall, the Middle East is experiencing very few problems in relation to FMD.

FRANCE

  The overall media coverage of FMD is increasing and the tone is still very hostile. Recent articles have tended to become more visual with scenes from Cumbria. The damage this has done as well as TV scenes, has been devastating to future tourism visits in the short term.

  There was still a 20 per cent reduction in the number of phone enquiries and visitors to the BTA office in Paris this week.

  The most frequently asked questions are: "Is it safe to eat the food and what is available?" "Can I travel around the countryside without a problem and where are the restrictions?" "Are you sure that FMD is not dangerous to humans especially children?"

  Meeting held with partners last Friday indicated that there are no real cancellations at the moment, but a lack of forward bookings for Easter/May/summer.

  London continues not to pose many problems, with Eurostar claiming a 3 per cent increase.

  Car-borne traffic to the UK is the most affected.

HONG KONG

  Overall media coverage of FMD is decreasing.

  In comparison with last week, the total number of enquiries to BTA in Hong Kong has increased, however the proportion of enquiries relating to FMD is still seen as "insignificant".

  One daily newspaper, The Sun, is refusing to buy travel stories on Britain until the FMD issue is under control. The Sun (not related to The Sun in Britain) has the third highest circulation in Hong Kong.

IRELAND

  Britain continues to be heavily criticised over our apparent lack of action regarding the spread of FMD, with precautions at ports and airports, inconsistent use of disinfectant and (an apparent) lack of concern over the movement of people to sporting events etc.

  In recent days the Department of Agriculture in Ireland has "softened" slightly its attitude regarding travelling to Britain (having realised the possible damage which may be done to their own tourism industry).

  Widespread confusion amongst the public in Ireland (as a result of the Irish Government's information/misinformation) regarding whether it is safe to travel to Britain.

NEW ZEALAND

  Overall media coverage of FMD is decreasing. Headlines this week have included; "Britain re-opens Countryside to Tourists"—New Zealand Herald 3 April 2001.

  New Zealand MAF have mailed pamphlets to all rural mail delivery addresses, detailing how to recognise foot and mouth disease.

  Enquiries to BTA in Auckland have decreased dramatically during the second half of this week. Sales in the office have also gone extremely quiet.

  Wholesalers and retailers are reporting some cancellations. Airlines are reporting that they are not being affected at all and that their flights are still full.

  No new summer business is being reported, but bookings have picked up for September/October period.

PORTUGAL

  Press comments have been fairly neutral, although there is some criticism of the non-vaccination option.

  The Government has removed shoe-cleaning measures previously applied to airport arrivals from the UK.

  In comparison with last week, the total number of enquiries has decreased slightly. No enquiries have been in relation to FMD.

SINGAPORE

  Overall media coverage of FMD is decreasing, however the tone remains hostile.

  In comparison with last week, the total number of enquiries have decreased and so too has the proportion of enquiries relating to FMD.

  Two major local tour operators estimate that at the recent NATAS (National Association of Tourist Boards) travel consumer fair, they had between 10 per cent and 18 per cent increase in consumer traffic to Europe, with at least 90 per cent travelling to London.

  Flights on BA/QF to London are reported full between May and July.

SOUTH AFRICA

  Overall media coverage of FMD is remaining sympathetic.

  Enquiries to BTA in Johannesburg have increased since last week.

  No evidence of cancellations from BA, Virgin, Friends of the Lion etc.

SPAIN

  There has been a considerable decrease in media coverage of FMD this week. There is however, still some tourism related coverage. There has also been considerable coverage related to other countries' fears of FMD, particularly Germany and the USA.

  The tone of the coverage is significantly less hostile than last week.

  In comparison with last week, the total number of enquiries relating to FMD has decreased slightly. The proportions of enquiries relating to FMD are down 1.5 per cent to 3 per cent.

  The general consensus still seems to be around 15-20 per cent cancellation from the trade.

  EFL operators appear to be slightly more worried than last week, although there is still no major alarm.

  There is some mention of clients choosing Ireland and the USA instead of Britain.

SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA

  Some Austrian Education Embassies have issued confusing advice to schools.

  In comparison with last week, the total number of enquiries has remained the same.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

  Overall media coverage of FMD is at the same level as last week. The tone of the coverage is hostile.

  The BTA Chicago office is working with local Consul General's office to counteract negative publicity in the Midwest (in association with the BTA office in New York).

  United Airlines are not offering full refunds due to FMD cancellations, however they are offering a credit voucher or the opportunity to change travel dates without penalty.

  Virgin Vacations have had very few cancellations, but new bookings are very slow. They are currently holding meetings to develop a programme of special offers.

  British Airways has had a notable downturn in the first three months of this year—they report this is due to economic conditions rather than being FMD related. On 6 March, BA issued a policy for refunds.

  Aer Lingus is offering a full refund policy to those who decide not to fly because of FMD.

April 2001


 
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