About 10 percent of Taiwanese with plans to travel in China during the Lunar New Year holiday have expressed a desire to cancel their tour or switch to a tour in a different country as a viral outbreak caused by a novel coronavirus escalates, local travel agencies have said.
In less than a month, the outbreak has spread from Wuhan, China, to Beijing, Shanghai and Guandong Province.
Taiwan, Japan, South Korea and Thailand have also reported people contracting the virus.
Photo: Liu Hsin-de, Taipei Times
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has urged travel agents to avoid arranging tours to Wuhan or surrounding areas to lower the risk of travelers contracting the virus.
Yesterday, 24 Chinese travelers from Wuhan entered Taiwan, Tourism Bureau statistics showed.
Meanwhile, 178 Chinese tourists from Wuhan are to arrive between today and Wednesday next week, while 83 Taiwanese tourists are scheduled to go on package tours to Wuhan, local travel agencies said.
“We have instructed travel agents to be especially vigilant of their guests’ health. If any travelers have a fever or flu-like symptoms, agents should immediately have the travelers put on masks and take them to hospital. They should tell the doctors about the patients’ travel history, occupation and other relevant information, and report the case to the CDC,” the bureau said.
SET Tour said that it has had about 10 percent of travelers signed up for package tours in China inquire about canceling their tour.
As there is still a “yellow” travel alert for Wuhan, the travel agency would refund all tour fees, except for non-refundable fees such as visa and passport application charges, SET Tour said, adding that customers who have yet to pay any fee could cancel the tour contract.
SET Tour’s operator in China is sterilizing buses daily, as well as dispensing masks and wet wipes, it said, adding that it would suspend sales of tours to Wuhan in March.
Cola Tour also reported that 10 percent of travelers headed to China have said that they would like to cancel their tour or switch to a tour going to a different destination.
“We have asked tour partners in China to take precautionary measures, but if travelers still have concerns, we will assist them in canceling their tour and changing to a different tour. They would still be charged processing fees if the airline tickets have been booked,” Cola Tour said.
Yesterday evening, Lion Travel announced that it would cancel all tours to Wuhan from now until the end of next month and give customers unconditional refunds.
Lion Travel said that it would also suspend sales for tours to Wuhan between March and May.
Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) said on Facebook yesterday that the ministry has requested local airlines to consider suspending flights to Wuhan for the short term.
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