Tourists driven away by swine flu outbreak

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Swine Flu’s May 1 appearance in Hong Kong helped drive the number of tourists visiting the Chinese territory down by 13.5% from the same month last year, the South China Morning Post reported.

Visitors from mainland China — who spend more on average than those from other nations — fell 9.9% in May, the newspaper said. Tourists from the rest of Asia fell 14%, while those from outside the region fell 10%, the newspaper reported. The Hong Kong Tourism Board is forecasting another bad month for June, the report said.

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The drop in visitors coincided with the first reported case of the virus in the city, where about 300 guests were immediately quarantined for a week at the Metropark Hotel in the tourist district of Wan Chai, the SCMP said.

Worldwide, the disease has killed 139 people and infected more than 25,000, according to the World Health Organization.