Mers: Some in Singapore cancel or postpone holiday trips to South Korea

With reports that the outbreak of the deadly Middle East respiratory syndrome (Mers) in South Korea could be worsening, some holidaymakers here are playing it safe by cancelling their trips to the country.

CTC Travel was to have a group of 150 people departing for South Korea yesterday evening, but the travel agency saw about 10 last-minute cancellations.

Since Wednesday, 15 to 20 of the agency's customers, who were bound for South Korea this month, either changed their travel destination or postponed their departure dates to later this year. The agency has about 600 customers headed there this month.

South Korea recorded its first case of the Mers virus last month. Since then, the number of infected South Koreans has jumped to more than 40, with four fatalities as of yesterday.

At Chan Brothers, less than 5 per cent of its customers who had planned to travel to South Korea this month have chosen to cancel or postpone their trips.

The agency has several groups, comprising 20 to 40 people each, planning to depart for the country daily this month.

Said Ms Rebecca Chia, a marketing communications executive at Chan Brothers: "The majority of these changes in travel arrangements have been for departures in the first half of June. Travellers who have booked tours in the second half are still monitoring the situation closely and adopting a wait-and-see approach."

Similarly, SA Tours has seen about six cancellations. Ten customers also chose to fly to Japan instead of South Korea as they had originally planned.

Despite the cancellations over the last few days, many people are still going ahead with their plans to visit South Korea.

One free-and-easy traveller, Mr Gan Ziyu, is still headed there next week.

Said the 28-year-old accounts executive: "I read about the fatalities in the news ,so I am a little bit worried, but my wallet would take quite a hit if I cancel my trip. I think I will just have to be mindful of who I stand next to when I am in the country and be mindful of my personal hygiene."

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