Impact of MERS Outbreak in South Korea Deepens
The ongoing MERS outbreak in South Korea has resulted in Taiwan’s government issuing a travel advisory covering all of South Korea – not only Seoul. In addition, Malaysia’s Deputy Minister, publicly advised Malaysians not to travel to South Korea.
According to a TTG Asia article, flight cancellations to South Korea continue to increase at a double-digit rate. Bookings from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan have fallen the fastest. Japan is the only market in Asia that has not recorded a drop in flight bookings.
Business and corporate travel numbers are reportedly holding up well compared to leisure numbers. Todd Arthur, managing director Asia-Pacific at HRS, commented, “While the ongoing MERS health scare is having some impact on the level of leisure travel to South Korea, we’ve yet to see a significant negative impact on corporate travel to the country. In terms of hotel bookings, there haven’t been a large number of cancellations.”
South Korea’s Ministry of Tourism has launched an initiative to offer complimentary MERS-related healthcare insurance to all foreigners visiting South Korea. To date, there have been over 160 confirmed cases of MERS in South Korea resulting in 23 deaths.