Greek travel agents and tour operators are calling on tourism stakeholders and authorities to jointly formulate a clear action plan in view of the coronavirus outbreak that has thus far cost the life of at least 213 people and infected more than 9,692.
In this direction, the Federation of Hellenic Associations of Tourist & Travel Agencies (fedHATTA) said the “most responsible and appropriate way of handling the new situation is to cancel or postpone travel services related to the Chinese market without imposing cancellation fees or with full refunds”.
FedHATTA added that it had been advised by its Chinese counterpart that tourist companies with occasional or permanent partnerships with corresponding Chinese providers are requested to take action in order to prevent further spread of the epidemic. Chinese businesses and operators have already postponed or cancelled local or international group trips, including additional services (restaurants, sightseeing, etc) without imposing cancellation fees and offering full refunds.
The European Travel Agents and Tour Operators Associations (ECTAA), of which FedHATTA is a member, has also issued an update on travel urging its members to facilitate travelers and proceed with the penalty-free cancellations.
FedHATTA is calling on the government to convey this message clearly to all parties concerned and to urge tourism service providers to “disregard financial interest, and to help to overcome the difficult situation for the benefit of all parties involved”.
Travel companies and more than 43 airlines worldwide have already canceled services and flights to and from China. Among these, Greece’s Aegean Airlines, which has not imposed cancellation fees.