In 2003 there was a sudden boom in tourism again. This was long in coming, as the 9/11 terrorists attacks greatly affected tourism in the Niagara Falls area. Despite the SARS outbreak of 2003, tourism seemed to be on the rise again.
However, things may once again take a turn for the worse with the spread of the coronavirus throughout North America. It is uncertain as to how this may affect tourism to Niagara Falls.
Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that can cause illness that appears as a common col but is more severe than SARS. Unfortunately, there are no known ways to treat the coronavirus and no vaccine that can protect against it. Most people who have been infected can recover on their own but some have not been so fortunate.
It is a respiratory infection that is new to humans that shows a person-to-person transmission through direct contact with respiratory secretions. The transmission of the virus requires distancing yourself and increasing one's awareness of hand hygiene. One of the biggest concerns is that it is being seen in the most common trade areas of exchange. This includes an exchange of products and people, which can intensify the increase in cases.
What further complicates things is that the symptoms are commonly associated with other illnesses, such as a common cold or flu. Those who have pre-existing conditions, such as respiratory problems or diabetes, need to be particularly careful. Also, those who are older are more susceptible to the virus.
While the coronavirus has been said to originate in China, it is unclear as to the exact area. However, it has now become a worldwide concern as there are now cases of the virus being treated in the U.S, South Korea, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, and Thailand. At the time of this story, 81 people have died and over 2,500 people have been infected.
It appears that health agencies have the situation under control and are successfully able to follow the contacts of those who have been infected. Tourism organizations are preparing for the worse, as the virus is on the move. The chief executive officer of Niagara Parks, David Adames said that it is too early to offer information on what the parks will do. The issue is ongoing and information is constantly changing. The Niagara Parks has been deferring comments to the Ontario Ministry of Health and other public health officials.
Those who are concerned and who may have plans of visiting the area are also being encouraged to visit Ontario.ca/coronavirus, a website that has been set up to provide updated information. This information will enable visitors to plan accordingly.
The Niagara Casinos is monitoring the situation with Niagara Public Health and the Ministry of Health. They communicate health and safety tips to their associates to help drive home the importance of properly washing hands and emphasizing hygiene protocols. They recognize this as the best defense against the coronavirus.