February 7, 2020
As of Feb. 21. Friday, there are 76,775 confirmed cases, 75,467 of them are in mainland China. During the past 3 days, there were less than 1,000 confirmed cases each day, which indicates a slower spreading pace. After the extended holidays, Chinese employees are starting to return to work. However, the travel industry is still under the MCT’s group suspension. Tour operators and travel agencies are not accepting any packaged tour bookings. Most airlines have extended their flights suspensions until the end of April. China’s international air traffic has been dropped by 70%. ITB China Shanghai has been postponed to later this year. COTTM Beijing has been rescheduled from April to September.
The outbreak of coronavirus, a pneumonia-like illness that was first identified in Wuhan, China, has created a cascade of travel warnings and cancellations. The United States is conducting screenings for coronavirus at 20 airports, and the U.S. State Department is recommending that people reconsider travel to China. Outbound travel from China has been halted by the Chinese government, and NTA President Catherine Prather reports that several NTA China Inbound Program tour operators have received cancellations from their Chinese partners. “With so many Chinese agents dealing with cancellations and refunds, NTA members can help by being lenient with them at this critical time,” she said.
As an example, Tom White, director of sales & outreach for the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama, reported that they have lost two groups (a total of 60 students) scheduled to arrive from China on Feb 2. The attraction will reschedule or provide refunds upon request.
According to Jim Magrath, general manager of specialty sales for Delta Air Lines (NTA’s official airline partner), Delta has implemented a special waiver program for Customers who may be impacted due to the coronavirus health concerns in China. These travelers may use special waiver codes to rebook or change their flights.. More information >>
Additionally, Delta Air Lines has temporarily suspended all U.S.-China flights beginning Feb. 6 through April 30, 2020 due to the ongoing concerns related to the coronavirus. Between now and Feb. 5, Delta will continue to operate flights to ensure customers looking to exit China have options to do so. More information>>
United Airlines has suspended most of its daily flights to and from China. Some Chinese travelers who arrived in the U.S. before Jan. 27 might have difficulties finding flights going back to China. Chinese Embassy has released hotline information to assist Chinese citizens. More information>>
NTA is monitoring the impact of the virus outbreak as well as the suspension of group tours from China, as decided by the Chinese Ministry of Culture and Tourism. If you’re affected, please fill out the survey and help us to better determine the scale of the impact. Take the survey>>
The coronavirus outbreak is posing a global public health emergency, and as of Feb. 7, the number of confirmed cases reached 31,530. As you know too well, travel to and from China is restricted. After carefully weighing the situation, we have decided to postpone the planned 2020 China sales mission until next year. We apologize for the changes and would appreciate you setting aside your China market sales mission budget for 2021. We will send out new dates and itineraries once confirmed.
“The State Department has a level 4 warning for China, meaning they heavily advise against Americans traveling to China. For other domestic and international travel, there is no additional risk,” the CDC reported in a recent webinar, on Feb. 7, 2020. There are 12 confirmed cases in the United States, all in stable and improved conditions, with 281 persons under investigation and 88 pending testing according to the CDC.
For more information, follow the links below:
U.S. Travel: Emergency Preparedness and Response
U.S. State Department: China Travel Advisory
U.S. Centers for Disease Control
World Health Organization: daily situation reports
World map of confirmed cases