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Tsunami Affects Tourism; Earthquake in China Unlikely

The tsunami that hit 7 Asian countries has already caused over 22 thousand deaths. No casualties to Chinese citizens have been reported yet apart from the death of one Taiwan traveler. However, the disaster has had a great influence on outbound travel to southeast Asian countries in China.


The first batch of Chinese tourists has already returned to Shanghai safely from Phuket Island in Thailand. But the traumatic experience is still fresh on their minds.


"It was so horrible, exactly like what you see in those Hollywood disaster movies."


"I just ran and ran. And the waves were right after me."


To avoid being caught in the aftermath of the tsunami, many Chinese tourists have chosen to change their travel plans. In Shanghai, many people cancelled tours to Southeast Asian countries, and all travel routes to Phuket and Maldives have been temporarily halted. Travel agencies in the city are negotiating with airline companies to work out a refund plan.


In south China's city of Guangzhou however, several tour groups still headed out for Thailand, but the tsunami-striken Phuket is definitely not on the itinerary. Li Jinmao from the China Travel Service in Guangzhou does not expect the Spring Festival holiday business to be severely affected, but he says tourists should be cautious.


"We've already covered liability insurance for our customers. But I still suggest tourists buy accident insurance in case anything happens."


With aftershocks still shaking some Indian Ocean rim countries, some worry that a tsunami could also hit China's coastal areas. However, Zhang Xiaodong from the National Seismic Bureau says it is unlikely a tsunami will hit the country.


"Historically, China's mainland was seldom hit by tsunamis, due to the many islands surrounding it which act as shields. And China has large areas of continental shelf, so the strength of waves would already be dampened before reaching the land."


(CRIENGLISH.com December 28, 2004)

Chinese Missing As Tsunami Kills 24,000
Bodies Piled on Coasts After Tsunami Kills 22,700
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Seven HK Tourists Injured by Tsunami in Thailand
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