The coronavirus effect
THE reverberations caused by the outbreak of coronavirus in China continues to be felt at all levels of the travel sector.
A number of travel operators have been forced to cancel itineraries to China to mitigate the risk of spreading the virus.
Scenic, Royal Caribbean Int’l and MSC Cruises have all opted to cancel sailings departing mainland China, with Scenic even cautioning of the prospect of scrapping cruises in China as far down the track as May.
On the Go Tours has also cut all tours to China up until 25 Mar, offering full refunds to affected guests, while Infinity Travel has stated it would not be charging fees for any amendments to trips.
Additionally, Marriott International has indicated it would waive cancellation fees for stays through to 29 Feb at its hotels in many parts of Asia such as mainland China & Hong Kong.
Meanwhile Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has stated the outbreak would likely cost the airline tens of millions of dollars & suggested it was too early to tell what the full extent of the financial impact would be for the company.
Speaking at the opening of Qantas’ new pilot academy in regional Queensland (see page five), Joyce said the carrier would use the SARS outbreak in 2003 as a “benchmark” for related costs.
“It impacted us by $55 million back in 2003 and lasted around six to eight months...this is different in a number of different ways, and who knows how it is going to expand,” he said.
Health protocols have also been stepped up by Samoan authorities, with Australian pax now needing medical clearance at least three days prior to travel to the Pacific Island nation.