Travel agencies cancel tours to China, Škoda keeping staff there for now

Photo: ČTK/AP/Petr David Josek

A number of Czech travel agencies have cancelled or are trying to reschedule package trips to China in view of the situation surrounding the coronavirus crisis, the Czech News Agency reported.

Photo: ČTK/AP/Petr David Josek
In the case of tours planned for several months from now companies are either offering alternative destinations or returning clients’ money.

Meanwhile, travel agents are fielding increasing numbers of queries from clients as to the situation in China. Travellers bound for countries such as Vietnam, Thailand and India are also seeking information, they say.

The Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs recommends that people only visit China in cases where it is absolutely necessary.

In a posting on its website it highlighted potential problems surrounding Chinese internal and international flights; health checks could lead to some passengers being excluded from flights while flights are also being delayed.

Ministry officials have also advised Czechs in the world’s most populous states to leave as soon as possible if they are considering such a move and to follow all hygiene guidelines and avoid crowded places if they wish to remain in China.

Czech-based automaker has Škoda Auto postponed all work trips from the Czech Republic to China, where it has a number of production plants, because of the coronavirus. A spokesperson said the company was monitoring the situation closely.

Škoda is not at present planning to bring home executives who are based long-term in the country, the representative said.

China is Škoda Auto’s largest market in the world. Last year, the carmaker delivered some 282,000 vehicles to the Chinese market.

This was a year-on-year decline of 17.3 percent and was attributed to a general decline in the country’s auto market.

Last year, Škoda Auto supplied 1.24 million cars worldwide. It operates three production plants in the Czech Republic and also manufactures vehicles in states such as China, Russia, Slovakia, Algeria and India.

The death toll from the coronavirus outbreak has risen to 170. Close to 8,000 cases have been confirmed in China, while infections have also spread to at least 15 other countries.