Flight Centre Travel Group warns against 'non-essential' trips to China
The Flight Centre Travel Group urged travellers on Thursday to reconsider all non-essential trips to China as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
The group’s warning comes as the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued a level 3 warning to avoid non-essential travel to China in its entirety — an escalation from previous warnings, which advised against travel to the city of Wuhan and the Hubei province, the epicentre of the outbreak.
Kim Taylor, customer experience director at Flight Centre Travel Group, said arrangements had been made to warn travellers with bookings.
“Travel experts from The Flight Centre Travel Group (FCTG), including Flight Centre Business Travel, Corporate Traveller and FCM, are contacting all their customers due to travel to China over the coming weeks. We recommend that customers reconsider their travel plans and make use of the relevant airline’s re-accommodation policies,” she said.
“Some airlines are allowing clients to refund or make changes to their travel at no additional cost, such as Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines, Etihad Airways, Air Canada, Emirates and British Airways,” says Taylor. The Flight Centre Travel Group will continue to monitor and update as communication is received from airlines.”
Tourist attractions in China, such as parts of the Great Wall of China, Beijing’s Forbidden City palace complex and Shanghai Disneyland, have been closed to visitors. Several countries have stopped flights into China.
The firm advised travellers already in affected areas to:
• Avoid all travel to Hubei province, which is under lockdown
• Practise advanced hygiene measures, including frequent hand washing and sanitising
• Wear a face mask or respirator in public if travelling in Chinese cities with reported infections.