Coronavirus outbreak: Health first, travel later! Indian travellers cancel travel bookings to China

FE Online
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Health first, leisure and business travel later! Clearly, this is a top priority for Indian travellers, particularly those who are visiting as part of their business or leisure plans. Reports suggest that Indian travellers are fast cancelling travel bookings to China! Following the deadly coronavirus outbreak, the cancellations from Indian travellers have already begun. Search queries on the Internet for cities in China such as Shanghai and Beijing have also seen a dip, according to news reports citing travel agents, both online and offline.

Given the severity of the coronavirus outbreak, Indian travellers join ranks with global citizens who do not want to take a risk and prefer to cancel all travel plans to China. Further, business travellers are adding to the number of cancellations to China. Clearly, there is considerable apprehension around leisure and business travel to China at this time.

Alternate destinations are probably being considered for soon-to-go business and leisure trips, besides the option of future travel vouchers that can ease the rescheduling process for customers who have already made their bookings.

Several countries are already issuing advisories to urge citizens from traveling to China. Given the spread of the new coronavirus in China, North Korea has reportedly banned foreign tourists. According to most reports, Singapore Airlines’ budget carrier Scoot has also suspended its daily flights to China, following the outbreak and global concerns over the transmission rate of the virus.

Reports on Wednesday show Hong Kong’s rail operator stating that all sales of high speed tickets from and to Wuhan city, which is said to be the source of the new coronavirus outbreak, will be suspended. The statement, however, conveyed that train services between Hong Kong and Wuhan would remain normal.

Japan on Thursday has raised its advisory level and urged citizens to avoid non-urgent trips to Wuhan city in China, which is reportedly the epicenter of the alarming deadly coronavirus outbreak.

Meanwhile, there are several reports that the World Health Organization may designate the coronavirus as a ‘public health emergency of international ‘, which is a rarely used declaration.