Tourism from China was already weakening before the virus forced much of the country into a standstill.
With tens of millions of Chinese ordered to stay put and many others avoiding travel as a new virus spreads, tourism around the globe is taking a heavy hit during one of the biggest travel seasons in Asia, the Lunar New Year.
Tourism from China was already weakening before the virus forced much of the country into a standstill. In Thailand, a favorite tropical destination for Lunar New Year travel, officials estimate potential lost revenue at 50 billion baht ($1.6 billion). In Asia and much farther away, hotels, airlines, cruise operators and others who depend on big spending Chinese tourists are ruing their absence.
On Monday, China extended the week-long holiday by an extra three days to Feb. 2 to help prevent the epidemic from spreading further, as authorities announced that 2,744 people had fallen ill and 80 had died from the new virus first found in the central Chinese city of Wuhan. Shanghai pushed the holiday’s end back to Feb. 9.
Travel agencies in China were told to cancel group tourism, and governments around the region were restricting travel from Wuhan, closely monitoring other travelers and helping arrange evacuations of some foreigners stuck in Wuhan.
So far, 17 Chinese cities that are home to more than 50 million people have imposed lockdowns.
In Thailand’s capital, Bangkok, many drugstores ran out of surgical masks and the number of Chinese tourists appeared to be much…