South Korea tourism suffers over MERS scare
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.