Sunday, June 14, 2009

Travel affected by Virus Flu

The tourism authority is calling on travel firms not to send tourists to areas affected by super flu, dealing another blow to the industry that is already reeling from the global financial crisis and higher oil prices.

Last Monday, the Viet Nam National Administration of Tourism Deputy General Director Nguyen Manh Cuong signed Decree 347/TCDL-LH saying that all travel agencies should suspend tours to countries affected by the A H1N1 virus, which the World Health Organisation declared a pandemic on Thursday.

Designed to contain

"The move is designed to contain the disease, which has spread to many countries," Cuong said.

But travel firms are worried about the financial consequences on business.

Ta Huu Chien, from Transviet Tourist Company, said he would be forced to cancel booked tours.

"We will have to pay compensation for air tickets, hotel reservations, coaches and entry tickets to sight-seeing places," Chien said.

He said compensation could amount to billions of dong.

A representative from Vinatour Tourist Company said that Asian tours were a major part of his business, particularly trips to Singapore, Taiwan and Japan – all affected by the super flu pandemic.

"We agree that these tours should be stopped to protect people’s health, but enterprises such as ours should be given support to stay in business," she said.

Meanwhile, Viettravel Tourism Company’s Dang Thanh Tung said more than 30 tourist parties were booked to travel to China and Hong Kong this month.

"We heard about the order, but cannot implement it this month as consumers have booked the tours and all travelling procedures have been finalised," Tung said.

Cuong said travel firms ignoring the decree would face the consequences.

"A tourist found to be positive for the A H1N1 virus must be isolated and under treatment in a foreign country for weeks. Travel firms would have to cover this cost," C

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