January 24, 2020 / 9:10 AM / a month ago

FACTBOX-As virus spreads, hotels, airlines offer refunds, stores close

BEIJING/SYDNEY, Jan 24 (Reuters) - Hotels and airlines are offering refunds to people travelling to China after a new coronavirus breakout there killed 25 people and infected more than 800.

Seven Chinese films scrapped premieres and Walt Disney’s Shanghai Disney Resort is to shut from Saturday as China began a seven-day Lunar New Year holiday, often the busiest time of the year for the park.

Japan’s Fast Retailing temporarily closed 17 Uniqlo stores in Wuhan city, the epicentre of the outbreak. Sweden’s IKEA said it closed its Wuhan store at the request of authorities.

Below is a list of businesses that are offering refunds for free to guests and travellers:

HOTELS:

InterContinental Hotels will allow customers to change or cancel stays scheduled up to Feb. 3 across mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. IHG has 443 hotels in greater China under different brands including four in Wuhan.

Hyatt Hotels said guests who had booked stays through its official channels and are cancelling due to the coronavirus outbreak, or are Chinese guests outbound to its Asia Pacific hotels, can cancel stays or change dates for free. The policy applies to the roughly 100 Hyatt hotels in greater China, but not in the southern resort of Sanya.

Investment trust Langham said refunds would be given for cancellations related to the coronavirus at its Langham and Cordis Mainland China Hotels in Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Haining, Ningbo, Xiamen, Hefei and Haikou, for stays up to and including Feb. 9.

AIRLINES:

China's aviation regulator said here passengers can get free refunds from Jan. 24 for flight tickets nationwide, bought previously.

China’s mainland airlines, including the big three - Air China, China Southern and China Eastern - are offering free refunds across the mainland for tickets purchased before Jan. 24.

Hong Kong's Cathay Pacific here and Hong Kong Airlines here, and Australia's Qantas Airways here said they will offer free refunds for tickets issued worldwide on or before Jan. 24, for journeys to and from mainland China between Jan. 24 and Feb 29.

Malaysia's AirAsia here will offer free refunds for tickets booked before Jan. 24, and for travel to and from mainland China until Feb. 15, and return flights between Feb. 16-29.

BOOKING PLATFORMS, AGENCIES:

Ctrip, China’s largest online booking platform, said more than 100,000 hotels on its platform have agreed to refund on bookings between Jan. 22 and Feb. 8. Flight tickets cancellations between Jan. 23 and Feb. 8 will be refunded, as well as for cruises and car rents among other services.

Fliggy, Alibaba’s booking site, offered similar refunds.

China International Travel Service offered refunds on hotel bookings and trips to Wuhan. Shanghai Spring Travel Service will refund on all travel services between Jan. 24 and Feb. 8 throughout China. (Reporting by Sophie Yu in Beijing and Jamie Freed in Sydney; Additional reporting by Ritsuko Ando in Tokyo and Anna Ringstrom in Stockholm; Writing by Sayantani Ghosh)

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