The National Business Travel Association is reaching out to Homeland Security and other federal agencies to lend its expertise to the Adminstration's proposed $7.1 billion plan to save us all from bird flu, should it jump from fowl to human. From the NBTA's Web site:
- NBTA was pleased to accept an invitation to attend President Bushâ€™s announcement on national plans to aid against the spread of the avian bird flu. Speaking at the National Institutes of Health, Bush outlined his plans for preparing the nation for a potential outbreak of the virus.
Following the delivery of the President's remarks, NBTA reached out to the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Michael Leavitt; Secretary of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff; and Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, recommending the development of a working group to involve the travel industry in the national preparation for a possible avian flu outbreak.
Given the mass hysteria over SARS not so long ago, I think it's a great idea to get some travel professionals involved in the planning. But there's not two ways about it: If avian flu does become a human-to-human transmissible disease, the meetings, travel, and hospitality business are scrod, at least for the duration. Nobody'll be going out of their houses, much less to meetings. I can't even begin to get my mind around all the implications, so I'm just really, really hoping it doesn't happen, or it is quickly contained if it does.