Asia specialist Wendy Wu Tours has praised the travel trade for minimising cancellations amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, and for helping prevent a China booking crisis.
Speaking to TTG on Thursday (6 February), founder Wendy Wu said the company would resume operations in China as soon as it is safe to do so – and urged other operators to follow suit.
Wu said medical authorities in China expected the spread of the virus in China to peak at the weekend, with new UK and China travel guidance to follow thereafter.
The operator has cancelled all China departures up to 15 March, and Wu said a decision on those scheduled to depart between 15 March and 1 April would be made in the coming days, subject to any new travel advice.
Wendy Wu Tours has also been providing daily, sometimes twice-daily, updates on the situation on the ground in China, tailored for both prospective clients and trade partners.
“We want to return as soon as possible,” said Wu. “As soon as they say we can go back, we will. We have had very few clients cancel, and one of the reasons is the support we’ve had from the trade. We are so grateful.”
Wu said agents were switching clients to alternative destinations or later China departures, and that the operator was “fairly confident” those travelling to China from April would not be affected.
Virgin Atlantic has also taken further precautions amid the outbreak, extending the suspension of its Heathrow-Shanghai route from 17 February to 28 March. The next available Virgin Atlantic flight to Shanghai will depart Heathrow on 29 March.
“The health and safety of our customers and staff remains our absolute priority,” said Virgin in a statement, adding any passengers booked to travel on the route should contact the carrier to discuss their travel plans or request a refund.