South Korea tourism suf­fers over MERS scare

The China Post - - LOCAL - BY BRIAN LIN

The Travel Agent of R.O.C. (


) yes­ter­day im­plored all trav­el­ers not to travel to South Korea due to the MERS out­break, which has af­fected trav­el­ers’ de­sire to visit the coun­try.

As the virus is quickly spread­ing, around 80 to 90 per­cent of tourists have signed up for a re­fund, trans­fer to an­other coun­try or a de­layed de­par­ture.

The Civil Aero­nau­tics Ad­min­is­tra­tion (CAA) said that China Air­lines, Eva Air­ways, Tran­sAsia Air­ways and Man­darin Air­lines will give full re­funds and will not charge han­dling fees.

Eva Air­ways said that the cur­rent air­line pas­sen­ger load fac­tor for Tai­wan and South Korea routes re­mains at a mere 3 per­cent. Gimpo and In­cheon In­ter­na­tional Air­ports have also pre­pared ther­mome­ters, and re­quested air­port per­son­nel to self-mon­i­tor their own body tem­per­a­ture be­fore work and main­tain health man­age­ment.

In ad­di­tion to strength­en­ing air­craft clean­ing pro­ce­dures, air­line of­fi­cials have also in­creased the num­ber of spare masks on each plane. In­de­pen­dent seats will be ar­ranged for pas­sen­gers with fevers, and quar­an­tine sta­tions, dis­ease con­trol cen­ters and other rel­e­vant units will be no­ti­fied to step up pre­ven­tion mea­sures upon land­ing.

If a pas­sen­ger is di­ag­nosed as a MERS pa­tient, flight crew are re­quired to be quar­an­tined at home. Should air­port per­son­nel dis­cover pas­sen­gers claim­ing to feel un­com­fort­able, they will be im­me­di­ately sent to the near­est hos­pi­tal.

The CAA is also co­or­di­nat­ing with air­line com­pa­nies to re­lax re­fund­ing mea­sures. China Air­lines, Eva Air­ways and Man­darin Air­lines have stated that pas­sen­gers can get full re­funds and re­funded han­dling fees for paid tick­ets bound for South Korea be­fore June 5. Pas­sen­gers should ap­ply be­fore June 12.

Ac­cord­ing to statis­tics re­leased by the Travel Qual­ity As­sur­ance As­so­ci­a­tion ( ), there are ap­prox­i­mately 20 cases of ap­peals re­gard­ing trav­els to South Korea, with all cases ex­press­ing con­fu­sion about re­funds.

Korea’s tourism in­dus­try has been hit hard as con­firmed MERS in­fec­tions and deaths con­tinue to in­crease. As­so­ci­a­tion of­fi­cials have con­firmed that flights to South Korea are nearly stag­nant.

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