Volcanoes and Travel

Mother nature can affect tourism, as the situation with the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland illustrates that with a vengeance.

Since erupting and sending huge plumes of ash into the air, thousands of people traveling to and from Europe are stranded.  The good news is that less affected air corridors can be re-opened tomorrow, though areas closest to the ash cloud will remain off-limits to air travel for the time being.

According to the U.S. Travel Association (USTA), evidence suggests that ‘even as air space begins to re-open, cancellations, itinerary revisions and other disruptions to travel plans have already affected U.S. business since last Thursday and will likely have an impact at least through the coming weekend.’

USTA also shared the following facts today:

  • The International Air Transport Association estimates the crisis is costing the airlines $200 million per day in lost revenue and the European economy billions each day in lost business.
  • The event is certain to have a significant impact on the U.S. economy as well as thousands of would-be visitors are unable to travel to the United States. The Air Transport Association has indicated 1,324 flights on U.S. carriers between Europe and the U.S. have been cancelled since Thursday.
  • According to Eurocontrol, the organization that regulates continental air traffic, about 28,000 flights would normally have been scheduled in the skies over Europe today but fewer than a third of them were able to take off.
  • IATA estimates that 750,000 passengers are affected.

As USTA stated in an email today, ‘the continuing disruptions to travel have served as a significant reminder of the role travel plays in our lives, and vividly illustrates how the world has come to depend on travel for tourism, family travel and business of all kinds.’

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