Julius Yan rarely receives emails from customers with concerns about travelling to China.
The owner of Vancouver travel agency Laurus Travel says the travel advisory issued by the Canadian government on Monday urging travellers to “exercise a high degree of caution” in China has negatively affected his business.
The advisory warned about “the risk of arbitrary enforcement of local laws” in China and was issued hours after a Chinese court sentenced Canadian citizen Robert Schellenberg to death in a drug trafficking case.
On Tuesday, Beijing issued its own travel alert for Canada, warning its citizens to “fully evaluate risks” and exercise caution when travelling there.
Yan has since received emails from clients with pre-booked tours saying they were considering cancelling their trip to China, including customers who reserved the popular 21-day China Highlights tour.The news is especially unsettling for clientele who are upper middle-class retired baby boomers who follow politics closely.
Not only are Canadian customers considering cancelling, Yan said there is an unknown number of potential clients who might have been interested in a trip to China but would now rather wait for the tension to pass.
Larry Leung, director of aviation customer service consulting firm Experience the Skies, said given that 2018 was marked the Canada-China Year of Tourism, the latest advisories could reverse the progress made between the two countries.
What’s at stake is a record 682,000 arrivals to Canada in 2017 and an estimated $1.6 billion that Chinese tourists spent in Canada that year, according to Destination Canada.
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