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March 27, 2014

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Tourists pull out of Malaysian holiday

TRAVEL agencies in Shanghai are reporting a sharp fall in tourists to Malaysia in a fallout over the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.

About 20 percent of local tourists who had booked tours to Malaysia with the Shanghai China CYTS Outbound Travel Service have cancelled the trip.

They were scheduled to depart on April 4 and April 18, the travel agency said.

CYTS announced yesterday it had stopped using Malaysia Airlines as a carrier for all tours, and travelers who were booked on the airlines can ask for a refund or choose other airlines. It said the decision was taken out of safety concerns.

Shanghai Datong Travel Agency said it received very few tourists for Malaysia ever since MH370 vanished from the skies.

March is peak travel season to Southeast Asian countries including Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore. The aircraft’s disappearance has led to a slump in tourists booking tour packages to the region, including Malaysia, said He Yiwei, deputy general manager of the travel agency.

Domestic airlines

He said the agency would mainly choose domestic airlines for travel  to Malaysia. Many tourists now have more questions about the airlines when booking tours, he said, adding that the choice of airlines was becoming their top concern.

Shanghai Spring International Travel Service (Group) Co Ltd also said there was a drop in Malaysia tours, while online tour operator Ctrip said it did not recommend tourists to Malaysia in the current situation.

Online travel operator said a few tourists said they would not never go to Malaysia for a holiday, but unlike Thailand, Malaysia attracts more individual tourists rather than group tours by Chinese tourists.

Some Chinese netizens have called for a boycott of Malaysian tours.

A post on China’s Twitter-like weibo calling for a lifetime boycott to Malaysia has been reposted more than 77,069 times till 7pm yesterday.

“The irresponsible behavior of Malaysian government makes us angry,” wrote the netizen who called for the boycott.

Netizens said they wanted to know the truth about what exactly happened to the missing aircraft.

Malaysia was among the top 10 tourism destinations for Shanghai travelers.

In 2012, it ranked 8th in terms of the number of tourists organized by Shanghai travel agencies.

More than 66,000 tourists in tour groups organized by local travel agencies visited the country in 2012, jumping 33 percent from a year earlier, according to Shanghai Tourism Administration.


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