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Some operators cancelling Chinese group tours to Sri Lanka

Chinese tourists in Colombo, numbers are expected to drop as Beijing imposes restrictions on travel/Amitha Thennekoon economynext

ECONOMYNEXT- Some tour operators have begun cancelling bookings from China to Sri Lanka as Beijing banned group travel from yesterday.

A spokesman for Aitken Spence Travel Group told EconomyNext that the firm has cancelled all future bookings until further notice.

“We have cancelled all the future bookings from China from January 28, until further notice,” he said.

The Government of China banned group travels from China to other countries from January 27, AFP reported. 

From February 01, all travel agents in China are to stop organizing trips abroad, the report said. Those groups that have already left the country and individual travellers can continue with their journeys.

Hilton Colombo said a few groups of tourists have cancelled their bookings but other reservations are still remaining.

“Right now, we cannot say whether it is a huge or minor drop. Only two or three Chinese groups have cancelled yet. Others are still remaining,” a Hilton official told EconomyNext.

Cinnamon Grand and Kingsbury Hotel, Colombo said they have no cancellations from Chinese travellers.

“We do not have an issue like that yet. All the reservations are there” Cinnamon Grand officials said.

The Daily Mirror reported that Jetwing Travels and Walkers Tours are facing booking cancellations of Chinese tour groups over the weekend.

The Tourist Hotels Association President Sanath Ukwatte said a special meeting has been called by all the hoteliers to discuss the situation, with Sri Lankan Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) officials.

China is among the top three sources for tourists for Sri Lanka according to the SLTDA with 167,863 visitors, 9 percent of the total, holidaying in 2019.

Sri Lanka recorded a total of 78,212 travellers from China during the first three months of last year.

The virus, known as 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China.

Early on, many of the patients in the outbreak in Wuhan, China reportedly had some link to a large seafood and animal market, suggesting animal-to-person spread. 

However, a growing number of patients reportedly have not had exposure to animal markets, indicating that person-to-person spread is occurring.

Recent reports confirmed 106 deaths and 4,500 infected patients globally due to the virus. (Colombo/Jan28/2020)

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