Coronavirus Disrupts Travel Plans Across Asia – The New York Times

By on February 8, 2020

“They don’t want to go to Asia,” she said. “Even though we cannot waive the fee for the Philippines or the other Southeast Asian countries, they still want to cancel.”

Similarly, Jordan, a Philippines-based customer service agent for Singapore Airlines who did not provide his last name because of company policy, confirmed an uptick in cancellations, despite the fact that the airline has offered to reroute passengers to bypass mainland China and Hong Kong without charge.

The continent of Asia has become an increasingly popular tourist destination in recent years. In 2018, more than 343 million international tourists traveled to Asia and the Pacific, according to the World Tourism Organization, an increase of 6 percent from the prior year.

The coronavirus, with its initial cases reported in Wuhan, China, has sickened more than 31,000 people with more than 600 deaths reported as of Friday — all but two deaths in mainland China.

More than 20 international carriers have suspended or restricted routes that ended in Wuhan and other major Chinese cities, including Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai.

A number of airlines including China Eastern Airlines, Cathay Pacific and Air China route passengers through those cities on their way to other destinations. For some travelers, even a brief layover in China is not worth the risk.

The newlyweds Jessica Salina and her husband, Anthony, planned to honeymoon in Japan in March — their first time traveling to Asia. But their Air China flight between Los Angeles and Tokyo included a layover in Beijing, and they decided to cancel on Jan. 30.

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