300 tourists stranded by snow

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 17 February, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 17 February, 2001, 12:00am

More than 300 Hong Kong tourists were stranded in Seoul yesterday after flights were cancelled or delayed following South Korea's heaviest snowfalls in more than 30 years.

Three flights due to return to the SAR from Kimpo International Airport on Thursday night were affected.

Airport officials said 16 international and 140 domestic flights had been cancelled by yesterday afternoon. Some flights were diverted to other airports and many flights had been delayed, airport officials said. Most flights at other airports around South Korea were also affected - leaving thousands of travellers stranded.

The 300 Hong Kong travellers were part of a dozen tour groups from eight travel agencies.

Joseph Tung Yao-chung, executive director of the Travel Industry Council, said travel agencies had been negotiating with Asiana Airlines, Korean Air and Cathay Pacific to arrange return tickets for the tourists.

He said the council had asked the agencies to cover the cost of hotel accommodation and food for the stranded travellers after the airlines refused.

Mr Tung said that according to the travel industry's code of practice the onus was on the traveller in such instances to pay for any extra expenses incurred.

Hong Thai Travel spokesman Daniel Chan said his company had a group of 33 travellers at the airport.

He said the company had arranged return tickets for them with Korean Air. They would return this morning.