Soccer fans still plan to travel

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 16 April, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 16 April, 2002, 12:00am

China's soccer fans are unlikely to let the crash get in the way of their plans to travel to the World Cup.

China are due to play Costa Rica, Brazil and Turkey in three games in their qualifying group in South Korea in June.

A spokeswoman for the China Federation of Soccer Fans, an unofficial organisation, said some people might decide not to go.

'But I have not heard of any cancellations,' she said. 'People will still go. This is the first time China has made it to the finals in more than 40 years and South Korea is close to us.

'It takes only one to two hours to fly to South Korea and both Chinese and South Korean carriers have a good safety record. I see no major impact.'

An official of China International Travel Service, one of the official agents for World Cup tickets, also expected few cancellations.

'The accident has only just happened and there has been no impact so far,' she said. 'We are organising groups of 30 and 40 people and they are all full. I hear that it is the same with other travel agencies.'

Asked if the accident might bring down prices, she said this was unlikely.

'For rich people, the prices are not high. Only the poor think so. Demand is strong.'

Prices range from 10,000 yuan (HK$9,400) for a three-day tour including one match, to 30,000 yuan for a 10-day tour with all three games.

Last Friday the press reported that China had acquired an extra 4,000 tickets for the three games because fans of the other three countries in the group had not bought their full allocation.

Travel agents warned that demand for tickets was so high that black market prices for the three games had reached up to $6,240 and many counterfeits were circulating.

South Korea plays China on April 27 in a warm-up in Inchon.