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Industry experts in the South Africa and the Caribbean say there will be an increase in the number of cruise passengers visiting the area despite the threat of the Ebola virus spreading.

There have been no outbreaks in both regions and South African cruise officials say the area is over 3,500 miles from any country affected by the virus.

Despite this, South Africa will be one of 2015’s hottest destinations.

Ships from Cunard, MSC, Costa, Seabourn, Crystal, Oceania, Holland America and Silversea will visit ports including Cape Town, Durban, Richards Bay, Port Elizabeth and East London.

Director of Wild Wings Safari Onne Vegter says many travellers are misinformed and cancel their trips.

“In fact, Spain is closer to the epicentre of the outbreak than South Africa is. All the popular safari destinations in southern and East Africa remain unaffected by the Ebola outbreak. There is absolutely no reason to cancel your safari trip.”

A senior official from the Caribbean Shipping Association in St John’s Antigua said there have been no cases of Ebola in the region and industry stakeholders and medical officials met to devise a strategy for prevention and containment.

“It’s important that all of us, especially in the cruise sector as well, be mindful of the potential and the harmful danger of Ebola. But the cruise lines have had some experience in terms of these types of viruses,” Chairman of the CSA cruise committee, Nathan Dundas told the Caribbean Media Corporation.

Mr Dundas said the cruise sector in the Caribbean have had to deal with Norwalk, a gastro virus and N1N1 virus.

Officials from the Pan American Health Organisation also attended the meeting.

“They are doing something similar again with regards to Ebola. They recognise the danger, they recognise the potential that it has and its consequences and they’ve actually put out some information.

In a bid to curb the spread of the disease, cruise ships have suspended calls to West African nations. Cruise lines are now focusing on preventative measures.

“Before any cruise passenger goes onboard right now, before a booking is made there is a screening process already taking place with respect to ensuring that no such individuals who actually have visited those countries (can board) and if they show any signs of symptoms, they are told that they are not going to be allowed on the cruise.

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