How dangerous is Shanghai China for tourists
In its security notice, the Federal Foreign Office warns against traveling to the central Chinese province of Hubei and flying German citizens from there. A trip to the megacities under quarantine would not be possible at all, traffic in and out has been stopped: Wuhan and other large cities in Hubei province have been largely isolated.
Europe's largest airline Lufthansa, like other airlines, has also suspended its flights to and from China: to Beijing and Shanghai as well as Nanjing, Shenyang and Qingdao until March 28th - only Hong Kong will continue to be served, albeit less often than usual.
Individual travelers will also get their money back if their flight has been canceled. But if you do not want to go to Hong Kong at the moment for fear of infection, you have to pay the cancellation costs yourself. The Foreign Office only issued a travel warning for Hubei Province; unnecessary travel throughout China (with the exception of the Hong Kong and Macau Special Administrative Regions) is not recommended. Since there could be restrictions in medical care, one should consider leaving earlier in view of the situation.
Travel cancellation insurance also does not pay if the customer is only afraid of the illness and does not fall ill before the start of the holiday. Anyone who gets symptoms while on the move would need travel interruption insurance anyway - this is only recommended for more expensive trips. However, even those with private health insurance should take out international health insurance, as they usually do not cover the costs of a return transport.
Package holidaymakers have these rights
Package holidaymakers should contact their organizers directly: They offer rebooking or reimburse the travel price. Due to the extraordinary circumstances, however, customers will not receive any compensation for lost holiday enjoyment.
Studiosus and Marco Polo Reisen, for example, canceled all trips to China until mid-April, but there are currently no guests in the country: the next trip should start on March 15th. In addition, at Studiosus and Marco Polo customers with a planned departure for the Middle Country can rebook or cancel free of charge by 31 May.
DER Touristik (Dertour, ITS, Jahn Reisen, Meiers Weltreisen and ADAC Reisen) and Tui offer free cancellations and rebookings for trips to Asia that were or will be booked between the beginning of February and March 31. If the virus spreads further, the vacation could be changed up to two weeks before departure (with Tui it would have to be canceled 30 days before departure). The deadline for the FTI Group is February 21.
China itself is more of a small market for German tour operators. The German Travel Association (DRV) announced that around 600,000 to 650,000 German citizens travel to the country every year. About two thirds of them are business travelers. Conversely, Germany is a popular travel destination for tourists from China, especially in summer. Beijing has now banned the sale of package tours abroad due to the corona virus - how long the ban will remain in force is uncertain.
For German package travelers who are currently traveling in China or who are soon planning a trip, the following applies: If they have to cut back too much on individual program items, they will get their money back. In Beijing, for example, entry to the Forbidden City is prohibited - the Palace Museum is one of the main attractions of the metropolis.
Other popular attractions were also blocked, such as the popular section of the Badaling Great Wall to the north of Beijing; Disneyland in Shanghai has also closed. In addition, travel in the country is sometimes severely restricted.
If this is the highlight of the package tour, customers can withdraw from the travel contract free of charge. The judgment of the Federal Court of Justice on such cases also applies to the fires in Australia, as travel law expert Paul Degott explains.
Cruise operators are also changing their plans and routes: This is how the refurbished one Norwegian Spirit in the summer not sailing in Asian waters, but in the Mediterranean. And Aida Cruises ended the season in the region early after the Aida Vita Mooring was prohibited in a port in Vietnam. If the cruise is canceled, passengers get their money back - they don't have to accept a replacement tour, explains lawyer Kay Rodegra, editor of the Würzburg table on travel law for cruises. If the cruise is canceled solely for economic reasons and not because numerous ports on the route are closed, customers could also be entitled to compensation.
What the Foreign Office advises
- Travelers should register on the office's crisis prevention list.
- Plan more time: Many international airports are now checking whether passengers have a fever.
- Keep an eye on current entry regulations: Anyone who wants to leave China or has recently been there may not be allowed to travel to another country without further ado.
- It is "flu season" in Germany right now and the symptoms are very similar to those of coronavirus infections. Therefore, travelers should get a flu vaccination as early as possible in order to avoid unnecessary suspected corona cases.
- In China, tourists should wash their hands regularly and properly and generally keep them away from their faces.
- Protective masks should be worn in public in outbreak areas.
- Contact with animals should be avoided - as should markets where dead or live animals are sold.
- If you have a fever, cough or difficulty breathing, you should go to the doctor and point out the trip to China.
- Travelers can find more information in the COVID-19 leaflet and on the websites of the Robert Koch Institute and the WHO.
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