Visakhapatnam, Hyderabad: Tour operators and travel agents from the city said there is very little interest among the public to go to Hong Kong and China. Over the past few days, bookings have gradually come down to almost nil. They said this could be because of the coronavirus scare that has affected parts of China and southeast Asia.
An employee from a nationwide international tours operator said packages to China (Shanghai and Shenzen mostly) and Hong Kong were still available to customers but people are choosing to stay away.
“As of now, we are asking our customers to wait before making bookings to China,” he said. He added that he could still suggest tour packages to Hong Kong.
A small-time operator from the city said, “There hasn’t really been a lot of interest in going to China. Bookings are never too many. But of late, they have dried up completely.”
Another local operator had similar views, claiming that bookings to China were almost nil. “However, I am not sure this is because of the coronavirus scare. Many people don’t even know about it,” he said.
A report from Visakhapatnam said the threat of coronavirus had resulted in some people cancelling or postponing their tours to China and even Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong and Macau.
This will come at a cost. Those who booked tickets on low-cost airlines will not get any refund. Tourists in the economy package tours mostly fly by low-cost airlines.
On Tuesday, four persons from Vizag cancelled their tickets to Singapore and Scoot Airlines refused to refund their fare. They lost Rs 2 lakh.
People in AP mostly travel to Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand in this period which is considered the peak season in Southeast Asia. “Chinese comprise 80 per cent of the travellers to these three countries in January. AP tourists fear that the Chinese tourists could spread the virus and as a precautionary measure cancelled their travel plan,’’ said vice-president of Tours and Travels Association of Andhra Pradesh Dheeraj P.
He told this correspondent Tuesday that 10,000 to 12,000 people from AP travel to Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand every year and 20 to 30 per cent are traders.
Only 300 people mostly businessmen travel to China. All the tickets to China have been cancelled and no fresh itinerary has been made by the frequent travellers, said another operator. He said if the situation showed no improvement, the travellers from AP would also cancel their plans in summer. People from this region travel either during Sankranthi holidays or during summer vacation.