Japan Travel Agencies Hit by Cancellations of China Tours

Economy

Tokyo, Jan. 31 (Jiji Press)--Massive cancellations of China-bound package tours from Japan are hitting Japanese travel agencies in the wake of the outbreak of pneumonia blamed on a new strain of coronavirus spreading from Wuhan, the capital of China's Hubei Province.

As the outbreak may spread throughout the world, the Japanese tourism industry is concerned that the coronavirus crisis may affect overall demand for travel abroad, sources familiar with the situation said.

The outbreak is also causing travel agencies to suspend China-bound package tours not including visits to Hubei, because major tourism spots outside the province, such as the Palace Museum in Beijing and the Great Wall of China, have been closed amid the crisis.

In an unusual move, JTB Corp. and H.I.S. Co. <9603> have decided to give full refunds to customers for tours to anywhere in China, excluding Hong Kong and Macau, without collecting cancellation fees, even if they cancel their tours just before departure.

JTB, Club Tourism International Inc. and Hankyu Travel International Co. have halted tours to Wuhan after Japan's Foreign Ministry raised its travel alert related to infectious diseases. JTB plans to continue the suspension until the advisory is lowered to Level One from the current Level 3, which calls for avoiding travel to designated areas.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press