Coronavirus: Three Steps Your Travel Brand Should Consider in the China Market

Alina Xiang
President & CEO
February 1, 2020

The impact of the coronavirus virus on outbound travel is significant as the Chinese government and its global partners increase containment measures.

The World Health Organization has declared the virus a global public health emergency resulting in air travel suspension to and from mainland China as well as health screenings and quarantines for at-risk travelers.

China is determined to overcome this challenge and is committed to protecting its people and the world. While the Chinese travel trade has suffered tremendous losses due to Lunar New Year cancellations and our partners are feeling the impact of the travel ban worldwide, we remain hopeful that the virus will be contained and that these extensive containment measures are short term.

In the meantime, we are advising travel and tourism organizations to take the following steps:

  1. Review. This is a very sensitive time for Chinese travelers. We recommend reviewing co-ops and pausing programs that may deliver the wrong message during this difficult period.
  2. Reallocate. Outbound FAMs and in-market missions take extensive planning and coordination. As you consider Q1 cancellations, we’d advise aligning calendars with colleagues and partners to reschedule for future dates. It’s best to place a hold on calendars now and revisit the dates as this situation develops.
  3. Regain. The Chinese travel trade will be eager to resume activities. While travel suspensions have derailed Lunar New Year plans for millions, Q2-Q4 will be a time to regain any losses.

This is a critical time for our industry—one that calls for compassion and unity as we work toward our common goal to contain the spread of the virus and protect the health and wellbeing of others. We ask our global tourism partners to extend as much flexibility with China traveler cancellations as possible. Although short-term business has been affected, we are confident we can overcome this challenge and believe the situation will recover in the near future.