Flight bookings to South Korea have plummeted following an outbreak of MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome), according to latest figures from ForwardKeys which monitors future travel patterns by analyzing 14 million reservation transactions each day.
The first case in South Korea of MERS, a virus which produces cold-like symptoms including fever, cough and breathing difficulties, was reported on May 20, 2015.
Olivier Jager, Co-founder and CEO, ForwardKeys, said: “The MERS outbreak in South Korea seems to be having an immediate impact, creating a climate of panic for those with imminent travel plans. International air reservations reacted within five days of the first reported case of MERS in South Korea. After 1 June, we saw steeper drops in bookings and increases in cancellations.
“Obviously, we will continue to monitor bookings activity in the area closely, to keep the industry up to date with the latest developments.”
Variation of Total Reservations vs. the Same Period 2014
Hardest hit were flight reservations from Hong Kong – down 102% for the same period last year, based on net weekly bookings (ie: bookings – cancellations).
Across nine countries and Hong Kong, total bookings have collapsed, down 55.1%, with Taiwan down 83.1%, China down 72%, Singapore down 48.9%, Thailand down 33.4% and the USA down 28%.