Travelers change plans, seek refunds

2024-03-26 10:29:42China Daily Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

Rising safety concerns after attack may hamper tourism to Russia

China's major airline companies and travel agencies have offered free refunds or rescheduling to travelers with trips booked for Russia, after a terrorist attack in the country's capital Moscow.

Experts said that Chinese travelers' rising safety concerns may hamper tourism to Russia in the near future.

On Friday night, several gunmen indiscriminately shot at people at the Crocus City Hall in suburban Moscow. They killed 137 people, including three children, Xinhua News Agency reported on Monday.

Prices of nonstop flight tickets from Moscow to major Chinese cities such as Beijing and Shanghai skyrocketed to over 10,000 yuan ($1,400) for economy class and above 50,000 yuan for first class soon after the attack.

"I was super scared and I applied for refunds on flight tickets and hotels soon after I saw the news on Saturday morning," said Li Xiang, a 31-year-old from Beijing, who planned a six-day trip to Russia around the end of April.

"It's better to wait and see now, and I'm not sure I will reschedule a trip to the country in the future."

Some major domestic airlines and travel agencies have offered free refunds or rescheduling to customers who have safety concerns.

Policies vary between airlines, but most allow travelers who bought tickets before Saturday to get a refund or change flight tickets to Moscow free of charge within one month.

Travel agencies have also taken measures to relieve customers' anxiety.

"We've made a full refund to one of our customers so far, who expected to head to Russia on May 16," the Tuniu online travel service said. "Under our current policy, customers whose departure date is 30 days away from the date of applying for cancellation can get a full refund." It added that decisions on refunds will be made on a case-by-case basis.

Wei Changren, founder of, a tourism-related financial news portal, said that more Chinese have traveled to Russia in the post-pandemic era, but the terrorist attack will affect their travel choices.

"The terrorist attack has cast a shadow over people who have travel plans to the country," he said. "People have concerns that the terrorist attack may not be the last one, so they will make more cautious choices regarding their travel destinations."

Yang Jinsong, director of the International Institute at the China Tourism Academy, said safety is the basic and most important element for tourism destinations.

"The negative effect of the terrorist attack may be relieved in the future if the current situation can be well controlled and no similar malicious attack happens in the next few months," he said.

"An attack or accident is unpredictable, so it's better to return to the Chinese mainland soon after an attack or seek help from the local embassy or consulate for rescue. We suggest travelers not visit destinations with individual safety risks, and they should closely follow travel warnings by the Mi


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