IPOH: About 50% of the locals have either cancelled or postponed their travel plans to China, Hong Kong and Vietnam since the outbreak of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), said Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta) president Tunku Datuk Seri Iskandar Abdullah.
The statistics was an estimate based on reports by members, he said. Conservatively speaking, there has been at least a 35% drop in businesses, he told reporters after the Matta Perak Chapter's annual general meeting here yesterday.
As for inbound tourists from the three countries, Iskandar said the drop had been minimal as their usual time of visit was April and May.
He said there had been fewer inbound tourists from all other countries in February and March due to fears about a war in Iraq.
Judging from the success of the recent Matta International Trade Fair, outbound travel has not been affected except to Middle East countries, he said.
In Petaling Jaya, Malaysia Airlines said the carrier had not reduced its flights.
A spokesman said they were still monitoring the situation, adding that there were no plans for cancellations or changes to the number of flights to Hong Kong although the passenger load to the territory was low.
MAS has daily flights to Hong Kong, Beijing, Canton, Shanghai and flies four times a week to Xiamen.
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