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Chinese outbound travel firm collapses; Beijing quarantines travelers | Daily Brief

03/03/2020| 6:34:07 PM| ChinaTravelNews

Japanese cruise line blamed coronavirus for its bankruptcy; Thailand projected 6 million fewer visitors this year.

Alibaba-invested outbound travel firm to liquidate

>> Beijing Baicheng International Travel, an outbound travel service provider once backed by Alibaba, has held an internal meeting for liquidation. The company blamed a severe impact by the coronavirus outbreak and a lack of cash flow to keep the business afloat. But it has been facing financial troubles since the second half of 2019.

Baicheng was once an investors’ darling, having brought in USD 20 million in its series B funding led by the Alibaba Group and China Broadband Capital in March 2014, and RMB 200 million (around USD 32.2 million at the time) in its series C funding in July 2015.

Cruise line blames coronavirus for bankruptcy

>> A cruise ship company in Japan was effectively bankrupted by the coronavirus crisis on Monday after filing for protection from creditors under the corporate rehabilitation law. 

Luminous Cruising, which runs one of Japan’s largest restaurant cruise ships, laid the blame on customer cancellations linked to the Covid-19 outbreak on the Diamond Princess, the virus-hit cruise ship operated by Carnival Corp. of the United States.

Hotels in Japan slash prices as occupancy plunges

>> Hotel chains in Japan are slashing room rates for about 30% of stays during the normally busy early spring season as the country suffers a coronavirus-induced drop in travel.

Prices were down on average about 20% on Monday from those offered on Feb 26 as shown on the Rakuten Travel and Jalan.net online booking sites for 1,087 of the 3,624 stays covered.

Japan's tourism hit hard by virus outbreak

>> The coronavirus has weighed on the transport and tourism sectors in Japan. The number of passengers between Feb 1-19 of the Shinkansen Line connecting Tokyo and Osaka fell 8% from a year earlier, its operator Central Japan Railway Co said, adding that of those who used other express trains plunged 15%.

As for air travel, Narita International Airport Corp said the number of passengers who left for China between Feb 1-22 plummeted 66.5% from the previous year to 42,400.

Beijing quarantines travelers from Korea, Japan, Italy

>> All travelers entering Beijing from the virus hotspots of South Korea, Japan, Iran and Italy will have to be quarantined for 14 days, the Deputy Secretary-General of the Beijing Municipal Government, Chen Bei, said on Tuesday.

Shanghai said earlier it would also compel visitors who had recently traveled to countries with “relatively serious virus conditions” to submit to 14 days of isolation, but it did not name the countries.

Thailand projects 6 million fewer visitors

>> The number of foreign tourists to Thailand may fall by six million this year to 33.8 million, the lowest in four years, due to growing fears over the coronavirus outbreak, the Tourism Authority of Thailand said on Monday.

That was downgraded from last month’s forecast for 35 million visitors this year, down 12% from last year’s record 39.8 million.

Indonesia to spend $744M to woo tourists

>> The Indonesian government said it would provide at least USD 744 million in subsidies for workers, airlines, hotels, tourists and regional governments in the country's major tourist destinations to counter the economic slowdown expected as a fallout from the Covid-19 outbreak. 

The Chinese tourists were the second-largest source of foreign visitors to Indonesia last year, and the loss of visitors could cause local establishments to lose a total of USD 500 million in tourism revenue per month. 

Nepal postpones tourism promotion

>> The Nepali government has deferred the international tourism promotional activities planned as a part of Visit Nepal Year 2020, due to the coronavirus epidemic, a Nepali Cabinet minister has said.

It is a major setback for the campaign under which the Himalayan country targeted to attract 2 million foreign tourists, almost double from foreign tourists arrivals in 2019. Nepal had received 1.19 million foreign tourists last year.

Tourism New Zealand focuses on Australian market

>> Australians are being targeted by Tourism New Zealand campaigns aimed to boost arrivals in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak. The organization received a $10 million funding boost from the government to ease the pressure on the tourism industry. 

Since early February, New Zealand has banned the entry of foreign nationals who have traveled from or through mainland China in the past 14 days. That means the number of people traveling from China has dropped from about 20,000 a week in late January to zero.

TAGS: Japan | Daily Brief | quarantine | cruise
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