By The Associated Press article With the Ebola virus still ravaging the world, one of the worlds largest tourism companies is already making a profit.
The company is China-based Hotstar, which says its website is the largest online destination for people from all over the world to book travel and accommodation, food, transportation and entertainment, as well as accommodation, shopping and entertainment for a few days.
It said its revenue jumped more than 50 percent in December to $7 billion from $2.5 billion the year before, due largely to the surge in Ebola-related tourism.
Hotstar, a company that is based in Beijing and Shanghai, says it has over 2.3 million international customers from 30 countries.
Its website has been updated in an effort to prevent Ebola from spreading.
“Hotstar is now able to offer customers worldwide the same experience as before, with better and faster travel, faster accommodation and entertainment services, and the same level of support and care we offer,” Hotstar said in a statement.
It is also expanding its services in the U.S. and Australia, and plans to launch its U.K. and French markets this year.
Hotstars mainstay in China has been Hotstar Resorts in Shenzhen, and it has a presence in Beijing, Hong Kong and Macau.
Hotline, which was founded in 2003, is based at Hotstar’s Shanghai office and has been the only mobile Hotstar in the country.
Hotline’s chief executive, Chen Zhaohui, said he has not yet decided how the company will manage the crisis.
“It is a difficult time for us, as we are in a global environment and the number of contacts has increased, so the number is very high,” Chen said in an interview.
“Our staff are working all the time, but we are not sure how long we will be able to manage the situation.”
The company said it is in the midst of hiring more than 5,000 staff to help staff with communication, including for Ebola cases, and will continue to increase the number in order to ensure it can handle the surge of demand.
Hotlines sister company, Travelline, also has offices in Shanghai and Macao.
Hotlines shares rose 7.9 percent to $18.70 in Beijing.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.