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Ebola Virus Fears Already Costing Africa's Travel Industry

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Rochester: Ebola Virus Fears Already Costing Africa's Travel Industry
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A virus of fear surrounding the Ebola outbreak is taking a toll on the African travel industry. Valarie D'Elia filed the following report.

After a trip to West Africa earlier this summer, New York City based photojournalist Alison Wright is now heading to East Africa and South Africa on other documentary assignments, but this time she's packing a bit of trepidation along with her camera equipment.

"It's actually the interior flights of the plane that have me a little more worried than usual. I am bringing alcohol to kind of clean down my area, not to be overly concerned, but I do think it's worthwhile taking precautions only because I have seen how easily things have spread in these countries," said Wright.

In the midst of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, namely, the untouristed countries of Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, Wright says she will think twice about her routine behavior.

"There's a concern when you constantly are lifting your camera equipment up to your face, and there's always that possibility, people always want to take a peek through your camera and I don't tend to do that anymore," said Wright.

A couple of people booked in Alison's photo tour workshop dropped out, a growing sentiment among legions of Africa-bound tourists scared off by the possibility of contracting a deadly disease.

Yahoo Travel is reporting that collectively, U.S. based African tour operators are predicting a loss of at least $2 million in just one week due to cancellations from a fearful traveling public.

"I think for people taking safaris you have to weigh your risks and what you are comfortable with. But at the end of the day nothing has been reported in the safari countries. No cases of Ebola have been reported in South Africa or Kenya," said Yahoo Travel Editor in Chief Paula Froelich.

When it comes right down to it, a geography lesson might help those with plans to visit Africa make up their minds about taking the trip.

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