1,100 HK tour group travellers must postpone trips

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 16 March, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 16 March, 2010, 12:00am

More than 1,100 travellers from 52 Hong Kong tours set to leave for Bangkok this week will have to rearrange their trip after Hong Kong's travel industry extended a suspension on all tours to the Thai capital until Tuesday.

Travel Industry Council executive director Joseph Tung Yao-chung said the decision had been taken because the red travel alert for the city was still in place. But he said travel agencies were optimistic that tours would resume before the Easter holiday.

The cancelled tours will not go ahead even if Hong Kong's Security Bureau relaxes the warning in the next few days.

'We won't have enough time to make the arrangements,' Tung said.

Travellers whose tours were scrapped can postpone their holiday for six months or obtain a refund with a fee.

The Hong Kong Association of Travel Agents estimated that the political unrest in Bangkok had turned away up to 40 per cent of holidaymakers who otherwise would have visited the city.

Meanwhile, the government sent phone messages to Hong Kong travellers in Thailand, warning them to watch out for their personal safety.

The Immigration Department has received 212 inquiries since the government issued the travel warning last Wednesday but it received no requests for help.

About 1,200 individual travellers from Hong Kong are still in Bangkok as of yesterday, but all local tours had returned.