Chinese cancelling visits to Singapore as well

Chinese cancelling visits to Singapore as well

Travel agencies in Singapore have been getting fewer bookings from Chinese tourists in the aftermath of Flight MH370's disappearance.

Chinese nationals, angry over the Malaysian government's handling of the incident, have been cancelling travel plans to Malaysia and its neighbours, including Singapore, according to the agencies.

The National Association of Travel Agents Singapore (Natas) said current bookings for packages which include Singapore as a stopover have fallen by more than 50 per cent at some agencies.

Ms Anita Tan, chief operating officer of Natas, which represents more than 300 firms, added that the industry is hopeful that bookings will recover by the July school holidays, which is a peak period for Chinese travellers.

Of the 239 people on board the Malaysia Airlines flight bound for Beijing from Kuala Lumpur, which disappeared on March 8, 153 were from China.

Contradictory statements from the Malaysian authorities briefing affected families when the hunt for the plane began led to many Chinese citizens accusing the Malaysian government of hiding information.

A street protest was held at the Malaysian Embassy in Beijing on March 16.

It is not just the region that is affected by the fallout, said Mr Edward Chew, regional director for Greater China at the Singapore Tourism Board (STB).

"We have received feedback from our travel partners in China that there is a drop in overall travel inquiries and bookings."

STB's partners in China are marketing alternative packages which focus on Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand to continue to attract visitors to the region, he added.

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