The Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the People’s Republic of China has issued an urgent order on Friday to tour companies across the country to suspend sales of group tours, hotel accommodation and flights in order to curb the spread of novel coronavirus.
According to the notice, which was shared with TTG Asia by AceVentures (OMT) Travels Consultancy, a specialist in global travel products and services for both the leisure and MICE markets, tours that are in progress are allowed to complete as planned, and the Ministry has advised tour operators to be alert to the health conditions of their travellers.
It isn’t clear from the notice, written in Mandarin, if the stop-sale applies to both inbound and outbound tours and travel products.
James Yeow, group chairman of OMT Group of Companies, told TTG Asia that overseas agencies are still allowed to sell group and FIT products into China, but he doubted there would be takers as fears of infection mount.
China’s National Health Commission announced today that there are now 1,287 confirmed cases of patients infected with the coronavirus, while the death toll from the virus has risen to 41.
Yeow has declined to reveal the number of group and FIT cancellations his company has received for China inbound and outbound movements, saying only that there has been “a lot”.
The stop-sale follows the Chinese government’s ongoing lock-down on Wuhan and 11 neighbouring cities in Hubei province to stem the spread of the virus.