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Beware the Avian Flu (Hype)

October 25, 2005 By:Mary Winston Nicklin

Rooster in Tonga

I just worked myself up into a real scare reading the latest National Geographic article on Avian flu. Like seriously freaking out. This could be the next world pandemic! Spanish flu to mammoth proportions! The virus jumping from birds to pigs to vulnerable humans! (Can you spy the seemingly innocuous rooster in the pic to the right? The lush tropical garden is just an illusion of tranquility when such a beast lurks in its midst.) Forget this blog-- I’m headed to Kayak.com to look for flights to the Pacific Islands, the only place left unscathed by Spanish flu. Or better yet-- I’m holing myself up in one of those desert caves in Afghanistan!

Not so fast, the ever-rational World Tourism Organization soothes my fears. All the media talk about Avian flu is dangerous hype that could hurt world tourism, especially in Asia and the developing world.