Major Japanese travel agencies JTB Corp, Kinki Nippon Tourist Co and Nippon Travel Agency Co announced yesterday they have decided to suspend tours to Taiwan through May 28.
The decision was made following the Japanese government's travel warning on Wednesday over severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), company officials said.
Japan issued a travel advisory, asking its citizens to postpone non-essential trips to Taiwan because of the outbreak of SARS.
The latest Foreign Ministry travel advisory added Taiwan to Beijing, Hong Kong and China's Guangdong Province on a list of destinations the government says should be avoided.
The warning is one rank above the least serious advisory. Japan has four travel advisory levels, ranging from heightened caution to evacuation.
JTB said it has already received a number of cancelations for tours to Taiwan and the number of people booked for tours this month has dropped to 100 or about 10 per cent of last year.
SARS has already forced Japan's airlines, such as Japan Airlines System Corp, to pare flights as some of the 16 million Japanese who go abroad each year opt to stay home.
Taiwan is one of the most popular travel destinations for Japanese tourists.